Local researchers develop high-tech bracelet to detect agitation in dementia patients

By Patricia Martellotti - Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Local researchers are developing a new high-tech sensory bracelet to help patients with Alzheimer's or other related diseases.

The new device detects a patient's agitation before something happens.

"It's really important for people trying to take care of people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia to help understand what causes them to become upset or agitated," said clinical team member, Martha Anderson, a professor at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Researchers from Carilion, U.Va. and North Carolina A&T State University created this sensory tool.

It's now being tested on patients like Tom Cooper and his caregiver and wife, Connie.

"When there was a frustration or agitation or anger on his part, I would push a button on my watch," said Connie.

Using an app on her computer, the caregiver can read his condition such as heart rate and temperature, tracking indicators contributing to the agitation.

"I learned to step back a little bit and not let myself become as involved," said Connie.

But the wearable device doesn't operate by itself.

There are monitors that detect environmental mounted on the walls of the patient's home.

Anderson noted there are other similar smart technologies, but says, "None of them are looking at agitation in dementia."

Technology giving real-time notification, for a better life.

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