News Health/Medical Smartphone App Detects Early-Onset Dementia: A Breakthrough Study
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Smartphone App Detects Early-Onset Dementia: A Breakthrough Study

By Linda Geddes, Science Correspondent

Published on Mon 1 Apr 2024 11:00 EDT

Introduction

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) affects the brain's frontal and temporal lobes, leading to behavioral and language changes. Researchers have now harnessed the power of smartphones to detect early signs of this devastating neurological disorder.

The Challenge of Early Diagnosis

FTD often strikes in midlife, affecting skills like planning, impulse control, and emotional regulation. Unfortunately, most patients receive late diagnoses, as their symptoms are initially mistaken for psychiatric disorders.

The Smartphone Solution

Scientists collaborated with Datacubed Health to develop an app that records speech during cognitive tests. These app-based tests proved as sensitive as traditional clinic evaluations in detecting FTD.

Study Details

The team tested the app on 360 adults genetically predisposed to FTD, including some without obvious symptoms. Results, published in JAMA Network Open, highlight the app's accuracy in identifying dementia even at its earliest stages.

Implications and Hope

With over 30 FTD clinical trials underway, this app could revolutionize diagnosis and monitoring. It may replace in-person visits to clinical trial sites, streamlining treatment monitoring and improving patient outcomes.

Conclusion

Early detection is crucial for effective intervention. Thanks to this smartphone app, we're one step closer to understanding and managing FTD.

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