Developers of wearable technology are striving to create products that seamlessly integrate into daily life. A significant advancement in this endeavor involves gathering data while users sleep. Recent research has shown that a headband embedded with specialized technology can capture crucial information about the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease during sleep.
This groundbreaking technology relies on electroencephalography (EEG), which detects brain wave patterns associated with memory and its processing during deep sleep cycles. The study’s results demonstrate that EEG readings can identify stages of mild cognitive impairment consistent with early Alzheimer’s, providing a potential tool for early diagnosis.
Early detection of Alzheimer’s holds immense benefits for professional caregivers, enabling them to develop effective treatment plans. It also empowers residents, patients, and their families to make well-informed decisions about care.
Unlike many other diseases, where early signs may manifest decades before they become problematic, early-onset Alzheimer’s is characterized by symptoms appearing before the age of 65. A majority of early Alzheimer’s patients (63%) fall within the age range of 55 to 64 years. On average, Alzheimer’s symptoms, whether early or not, tend to surface at 65 years and older.
Senior study author, Brice McConnell, MD, PhD, emphasized that this digital biomarker transforms any basic EEG headband device into a brain health fitness tracker. He noted that demonstrating the potential of accessible and scalable headband devices for early disease detection in a home setting marks a significant stride in combating Alzheimer’s at its earliest stages.
The study, led by experts from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Washington University in St. Louis, encompassed 205 participants with a median age exceeding 70. While wearable technology shows promise in disease detection among older adults, there is still room for growth, particularly in specific health subcategories like heart disease.