Innovative digital technologies for dementia research at the Alzheimer Europe Conference and the AIDEM 2020 Symposium
The number of older people with dementia increases and this fact poses a significant challenge for society. At the same time, professional caregivers should be supported with knowledge and technology to ensure a high quality of care. The integration of intelligent digital assistive technologies in many forms can offer opportunities to relieve the burden on caregivers, improve health care and at the same time improve the quality of life of elderly people with mild to severe cognitive deficits.
Active and Assisted Living (AAL) and digitisation in care are of great importance for Institute DIGITAL, which is shown by numerous research projects with renowned partners in health and care. The institute DIGITAL has been a leading ICT innovation partner for digital health and care applications for many years. It focuses on active and assisted living (e.g. AAL test regions, IoT, social robotics, virtual reality, neurodegenerative diseases) and mental health (e.g. serious games for persons with dementia, human factors lab, affective computing) and with sound methodological competences in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Medical Imaging, and decision support.
This year, Europe's largest conference on dementia research - the 30th "Alzheimer Europe Conference" - took place virtually from 20 to 22 October 2020 under the motto "Dementia in a changing world". The conference brought together researchers, health and social care professionals, caregivers, industry, policy makers and people with dementia.
The head of the Human Factors Lab of JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Dr. Lucas Paletta, gave a presentation at the Alzheimer Europe Conference 2020. He presented a modern approach to activate and prevent dementia by means of serious games and trainings. In recent years, serious games with high potential as dementia biomarkers have been successfully validated, but increased accuracy of estimation and personalized neuropsychological profiling are still required. The activities listed by the research team within the EU project PLAYTIME show successful steps towards the daily use of eye-based games. Mobile Instrumental Review of Attention (MIRA) together with Multimodal Activation Training (MMA) allow continuous estimations of the psychological state of Alzheimer's disease and individual neuropsychological profiles to identify personal limitations and their progression over time. The playful training application has been very well received by dementia patients and, with its ubiquitous mental assessment tool, offers great potential for future long-term monitoring in numerous Alzheimer-oriented care services.
JOANNEUM RESEARCH with Dr. Lucas Paletta, together with Dr. Sandra Schüssler (Medical University of Graz), Prof. Björn Schuller (University of Augsburg) and Prof. Bettina Husebø (University of Bergen) have organized for the first time the "International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence for Prevention & Intervention in Dementia Care" (AIDEM 2020). The symposium took place online on November 17th as part of the internationally renowned "Second Krems Dementia Conference" (chaired by Prof. Stefanie Auer, Danube University Krems) and brought together more than 50 experts in this field. Topics such as Artificial Intelligence for dementia diagnosis, VR-based mindfulness training, and assistive technology for people with dementia in times of COVID-19, augmented reality assistance technologies in the context of home care services have been addressed. In the demonstration session under the direction of Maria Fellner, MBA (digitAAL Life GmbH), direct insight into the practical functioning of the technologies could be gained.