Emerging Technologies

Existing and emerging technologies are rapidly revolutionizing the delivery of all aspects of healthcare, including the way treatments in interventions are designed and implemented. Technological developments allow for ever more advanced and sophisticated interventions to be increasingly tailored to individual needs, and to reach more and more people. Click on any of the projects below to find out more about how technology is redefining the way interventions are delivered.   

Simultaneous Physical and Cognitive Exercise (SPACE)
In this exciting new study, our team, led by my colleague Dr Amit Lampit is investigating the potential benefits associated with a unique training program in which older adults who are worried about their memory train simultaneously both their physical aerobic ability, and their cognitive skills using a special reclining stationary exercise bike fitted with a laptop computer. Participants must train both their aerobic fitness and thinking skills at the same time, and if their aerobic effort drops below a pre-specified target range, the thinking tasks on the computer automatically stop working. This study is in the early stages and ongoing. Visit the study page if you are interested in finding out more about the project. 

Reducing dementia risk in middle-aged adults: The Body, Brain, Life study
Several lifestyle factors in mid-life (for example, physical inactivity, deficient social networks, etc) have been associated with modified risk of dementia risk in late life. We also know that certain pathological/disease-related changes in the brain that often lead to dementia start appearing many years before people affected develop any detectable clinical signs. In the Body, Brain, Life (BBL) study, we evaluated an innovative intervention, delivered online, to assist middle-aged adults make meaningful changes to aspects of their lifestyle in the hope that this will lead to lower risk of dementia. Status: completed. You can read the complete study here. 

Reducing dementia risk in middle-aged adults at risk of dementia: Cognitive-Motor training using virtual reality
People with first degree relatives with dementia are at increased risk of developing dementia themselves compared with those without dementia in their family. In this exciting study, conducted in Israel, middle-aged people who have or had a parent with dementia train on a range of cognitive tasks within a virtual supermarket, while also walking on a treadmill. The tasks they are required to perform in the virtual supermarket involve thinking speed, attention, memory, and flexible decision-making. This treatment is being compared with other treatments in which participants either complete the training while stationary, or only walk on the treadmill without completing the cognitive training tasks. The virtual reality technology allows investigators to design training that more closely resembles everyday life challenges and numerous other virtual reality studies are currently underway. To learn more about this study (which is still ongoing), you can read the complete protocol here. Status: Ongoing (Israel)