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'Smart' home to detect symptoms of neurodegenerative disease

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Researchers have developed a system of sensors which when fitted in a home can monitor changes in a person's habits and routine to help assess whether they are suffering from a neurodegenerative disease.

Researchers at the Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research developed the system to improve the quality of life for elderly patients, by installing these sensors in either the care homes or supervised apartments of the patients.

The prototype of the system is currently installed in the premises of Tecnalia in Zamudio, Spain.

The sensors, once distributed around the house, can identify a range of user-initiated actions, which include detecting which room a person is in, the opening and closing of doors, time spent watching television, and the switching on and off of lights and other household appliances, 'Gizmag' reported.

The monitoring of these actions over time allows the sensors to define habitual patterns preferred by the user.

Due to the fact that the early stages of a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer's are often manifested by behavioural changes in the patient, the sensors can assess the possibility that the user is suffering the early stages of such a disease by monitoring significant deviations from past behavioural patterns.

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