With modern medicine and public health measures extending the average person’s life expectancy, a growing population is coming face to face with the challenges of age – including cognitive decline.
Addressing the needs of people dealing with cognitive change is no simple task. And today’s healthcare workers are hungry for objective, meaningful data to help determine how to best treat their patients.
Ruth Poliakine is hoping that her 5-person analytics company, MyndYou, can help harvest that purposeful data.
The company, which launched in the middle of 2016, announced this week that it is partnering with Mass. General Hospital to evaluate its technology for the remote detection of changes in the speech patterns of Alzheimer’s patients.
Teaming with up with Dr. Bradford Dickerson and neuropsychologist Bonnie Wong, the group at MyndYou will work to test out its artificial intelligence-enabled technology and assess its ability to objectively detect changes in cognition among patients with primary progressive aphasia.
The neurodegenerative language disorder is often seen in people suffering from fronto-temporal lobar degeneration or Alzheimer’s disease. But the symptoms, and ultimately the care, of PPA are usually judged and addressed qualitatively.
Poliakine believes that MyndYou’s technology, which uses smartphones and a web-based application to collect data, can give a patient’s stakeholders insight into their everyday life.
“There is a huge need by clinicians, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and family members, as care providers, for objective data of the changes in the person’s cognitive abilities as part of day-to-day life,” she told Drug Delivery Business News.
In order for patients to feel comfortable using the company’s technology on a regular basis, Poliakine told us, the data collection process has to be passive.
“It was important for us to use smartphones, which do not require the person to be labeled or to do anything special, just use smart phone like you and I do in our day to day life,” she said.
Companies across medtech are making an effort to incorporate big data and analytics into their portfolios, but Poliakine pointed out that it’s not enough to collect an array of information and turn it back over to clinicians. Instead, she said the team at MyndYou has been working with doctors to ensure that the platform is practical and useful.
“We’ve been working both with our partner, Mass General, but also with occupational therapists and care providers from the very first day in order to make sure that we direct our analytics in the right direction,” Poliakine said. “That’s an important part of connecting technology to the people who actually use them.”
For a caregiver, watching a loved one slide into cognitive decline can be draining, both financially and emotionally. While doctors and family members know that the ultimate goal of medicine is to extend life, they also want to ensure that what they do will prolong a patient’s independence and quality of life.
Poliakine believes that MyndYou’s technology can help bridge the gap between care and independence, giving doctors and caregivers individualized treatment options based on objective, quantitative data.
“We see a great need for tools that can increase effective and personalized care without disrupting the day-to-day life of our patients,” Dr. Bradford Dickerson, from the Massachusetts General Hospital’s department of neurology, said in prepared remarks. “This is only the beginning of our relationship with MyndYou, as we hope their technology will shift the way we care for early stage cognitive impairment.”
“One of the most meaningful things in this world of cognitive change is that all the stakeholders have, from distant perspective, the same agenda or the same goal. And that is to prolong independence at home,” Poliakine said.