Can Smartphones Detect Signs of Dementia?

Can Smartphones Detect Signs of Dementia?

Smartphones and watches have proven themselves in the health world. They can track sleep quality, heart rate and even the severity of a head injury. But can they also spot signs of cognitive decline?

In August 2019, health measurement company Evidation Health set out to answer that, publishing the initial results of a study conducted with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Apple. Researchers monitored individuals with and without cognitive impairment using Apple iPhones, Apple Watches and Beddit sleep monitors.

Findings indicated that information collected from devices might be used to help identify those experiencing dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

Researchers noted that participants with dementia symptoms tended to type slower, exhibit less routine behavior, receive fewer text messages and spend more time using helper apps.

“With further study, we may be able to screen people at high risk or detect dementia and Alzheimer’s earlier with the devices we use in our everyday lives,” says Christine Lemke, co-founder and president of Evidation Health. Digital biomarkers might help point the way.