Researchers to use technology to better understand risk factors for Alzheimer's

Marjorie S. Miller
December 01, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Researchers at Penn State are co-leading a five-year study using mobile technology to better understand risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately enhance prevention and treatment, made possible by a $12.2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. 

Named the Einstein Aging Study, the project will be led by principal investigators Martin Sliwinski, professor of human development and family studies and director of the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State, and Richard Lipton, professor and vice chair of neurology, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.

“By improving our ability to measure cognitive function in daily life, this work will set the stage for the next generation of early intervention studies to slow or prevent cognitive decline and the progression of Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” said Sliwinski.

Using mobile technology and sensors, researchers will monitor stress, pain and cardiovascular and cognitive function in real time among older adult participants to develop better methods to identify early risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive declines.

Subjects will include 500 independently living participants aged 70 and older from Bronx County in New York.

Using smartphones and other devices, participants will record their sleep, cognition and other factors related to daily function every day for 14 days, a process that will be repeated each year for five years. These “measurement bursts” should provide more accurate assessments than once-a-year clinical visits and participant self-assessments.

“By using this state-of-the art approach, we can track numerous risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease at the individual level,” said Lipton.  

Other researchers include Joshua Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health and medicine, and Jacqueline Mogle, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, both at Penn State.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 01, 2016