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AD Detect and Prevent project aims to create innovative digital healthcare solution

Thursday 21 February 2019

Detecting Alzheimer’s disease (AD) during the presymptomatic phase - before people themselves or their relatives become aware of any problems, is extremely challenging. In most cases, AD is only discovered when clear cognitive symptoms emerge, at which point the disease progression has already caused irreversible damage to the brain and may have begun to impair quality of life. Timely detection could allow for more effective healthcare interventions and is therefore of paramount importance.

The AD Detect and Prevent project, funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, aims to exploit the synergies of its cross-disciplinary consortium of patient organisations, start-ups and academics, to effectively address this issue.

The project will integrate a novel cognitive assessment method, developed by researchers connected to the University of Oxford, into a digital cognitive training and rehabilitation platform by the digital therapeutics company, Brain+. This method could identify subtle AD-specific cognitive symptoms at the presymptomatic phase. Subsequently, the platform will offer a personalised intervention programme aimed to reduce the risk of AD.

Researchers at the University of Oxford, Aarhus University and the University of Nottingham will examine the sensitivity, specificity and effectiveness of the digital solution via vigorous behavioural and neuroimaging studies. Alzheimer Europe and the European Brain Council will explore target user needs.

As such, the project hopes to arrive at a novel and scientifically-tested digital tool allowing for presymptomatic detection of AD and enabling early interventions to reduce the risk of AD.

The project aims to launch this innovative healthcare solution, which can be accessed through mobile applications and computers, in the Danish and UK markets in 2020, with the ambition to expand the final tool to other European countries.

The kick-off meeting of the AD Detect and Prevent project was held in late 2018 (23 November). On this occasion, all members of the consortium shared their perspectives on the anticipated milestones, reviewed the overall objectives of the project and agreed on the next steps.

Researchers at the University of Oxford and Brain+ are currently developing and testing different prototypes to gain insights on which format provides the best user experience while remaining a consistent and accurate tool for detecting presymptomatic cognitive signs of AD before clinical trials of the software begins.

This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme – Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), grant agreement 820636.

The project coordinator is Brain+