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'Going through the motions' to better treat dementia

Doctors are turning to wireless technology in an effort to better treat people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Alzheimer's Association and Intel Corp., psychiatrist Adrian Leibovici, M.D., will explore whether gadgets such as motion sensors and wearable motion detectors can give doctors and nurses a clear picture of patients' lives in their own homes.

The team is focusing on movements of patients with dementia and will compare the findings from the technology to results of traditional methods where doctors and nurses discuss a patient's activities with the patient and his or her family. Such information is crucial for patients to receive appropriate care.

"Behavior changes hour to hour, or even minute to minute, in patients with dementia," says Leibovici, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "It happens all the time. One minute the patient is quiet and calm, and the next minute she might be agitated, anxious or loud. Our traditional ways of evaluating and documenting such behavior may not be adequate. A family might report that a patient has been calm for two weeks, when really the patient was calm only that morning."

Leibovici's team will compare current traditional interviewing methods to the results from the high-tech devices. For one week each month during the three-year study, patients will have their movements monitored inside their home as they go about their daily routines; they and their caregivers will also answer questions about the patient's activity during those weeks. Then Leibovici's team will check whether the reports by patients and family members correlate with information generated by motion sensors.

Even though our movements are so simple and routine that we hardly notice them actions that are numbingly routine are referred to as simply "going through the motions" our everyday movements offer a
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Contact: Tom Rickey
tom_rickey@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-7954
University of Rochester Medical Center
27-Oct-2004


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