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Computer card game detects cognitive changes

ce of chronic illness - an estimated 80 percent of adults older than 65 report having at least one chronic illness, and half of all adults have at least two - such home monitoring technology will become a health care standard.

"In the near future, technology for unobtrusive monitoring, assessment and coaching will become a part of our everyday life, throughout the lifespan, much like telephones, credit cards, alarm watches and automobiles," he explained. "In infancy, early detection of dysfunctions will enable early treatment, development of special programs, and the like. In youth and adulthood, we will use the technology in sports, in alarms, reminders. So it will not be a drastic change for us to accept monitoring as we age. It is always a tradeoff between benefits and costs."

The FreeCell program is one of several "enabling technologies" under development at ORCATECH, said the center's director, Jeffrey Kaye, M.D., OHSU professor of neurology and biomedical engineering. The interdisciplinary center, established in 2004 as a National Institute on Aging Roybal Center for Aging & Technology, studies and develops technology to assess elders in their home environments. The goal is to help them retain independence by discretely collecting data that may indicate health changes long before quality of life is affected.

"It's a lot easier to treat someone when symptoms are just starting as opposed to when a full-blown crisis occurs," Kaye said. "These electronic and online methodologies help tell us early on when trouble's brewing. We're not suggesting we can make detailed diagnoses all remotely. What we're trying to do is identify trends that might tell use someone may be in trouble in the future."

Devin Williams, Spry Learning Co.'s chief executive officer, believes needs by the medical community to recognize and classify such trends will drive the development of products like the adapted FreeCell game and, as a result, "help iden
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Contact: Jonathan Modie
modiej@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
18-Jul-2006


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