The aim of this collaboration with Prof. Nicolas Langer from Institute of Psychology and Prof. Nathalie Giroud from the Institute for Computer Linguistics is to find a digital marker to identify incipient neurodegenerative disease. These can be easily implemented, are inexpensive and allow continuous monitoring.
Mobility could be one such marker and we will use wearable technology to assess physical activity, step symmetry, step lengths and habitual locations patterns and range of mobility. The project will build on our existing cohort complemented by subjects with mild cognitive impairment recruited via different memory clinics. Such a tool would be very valuable for early identification on a population based level and may also be used to monitor putative treatment effects in clinical trials.
We will also address changes in speech and language in healthy aging and mild cognitive impairment. Language is a key skill for daily living, independence and quality of life. As language has been shown to be altered already in early phases of neurodegeneration this may lead to the development of non-invasive biomarkers.