Wilfrid Laurier Alzheimer’s Research Making Significant Strides
Researchers in the business technology management program at the Wilfrid Laurier University Toronto Campus are making a huge impact in the study of early Alzheimer’s detection.
Josephine McMurray, an assistant professor in Laurier’s business technology management program, is taking part in a new innovative study that will examine the use of artificial intelligence in early detection of Alzheimer’s. For the study, which includes two family health teams from the Waterloo region, McMurray and her colleague at the Wilfrid Laurier University Lazaridis School of Business & Economics will look into the economic impact of the new early detection program.
Early detection of alzheimer’s can help seniors stay at home longer than usual, saving caregivers money and easing the burden on an often overwhelmed health care system. The new technology will use a tablet-based screening tool to identify cognitive decline in 10,000 patients much earlier than current technology allows. Through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the data from these patients will be analyzed for early risk factors; this information can then be passed along to doctors who can help identify at-risk patients early on.
According to McMurray, this early detection technology is a very new but crucial part of providing a better quality of life for seniors. “Most people, we rely on them to self-identify,” McMurray says. “Early detection really isn’t there at this point.” For McMurray and other researchers in the study, early detection is just the first part- knowing about critical risk factors earlier means intervention and treatment can begin earlier, potentially slowing and even reversing cognitive decline.
Currently, there are 564,000 Canadians living with dementia and over five million Americans have some form of Alzheimer’s disease, with ever-climbing cost of health care alongside it. This new technology could be a crucial part of improving quality of life for seniors throughout the country and saving huge amounts of taxpayer money overall.
You can read more about the Wilfrid Laurier Alzheimer research in The Record.