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Treating Alzheimer's by: Dr Itay Gal, Ynetnews.com
FILED UNDER SOMETHINGISRAELI >> Technology

Research
Research

Alzheimer's disease is degenerative and leads to a collapse of brain functions. A new Israeli computer program attempts to slow down deterioration in patients' brains.

The computerised system, which was developed by students from the engineering faculty at Ben-Gurion University, projects images, sounds, and texts from the patient's past and stimulates him to remember past events.

The computer system, which is designed for the use of patients and their families, includes a computer and touch-screen monitor installed with information from the patient's life; when operating it patients can view and react to images, sounds, and texts. The system was developed by two students, Moshe Barel and Yoni Epstein.

The purpose of the project is to encourage patients to remember and discuss their memories. Using a simple interface that includes a touch-screen monitor as a single input device, patients can control the system without previous knowledge or training.

The system was developed in phases, and was evaluated by Alzheimer's experts, family members and the patients themselves.

Following every phase the system underwent corrections and updates according to feedbacks. At the final phase the system was tested by five patients and received very positive reactions. Patients described watching episodes from their past as a "pleasant feeling."

"The system will not delay the disease," Dr. Noam Tractinsky told Ynet, "but it does ease caregivers' job and provides patients with a good feeling. The system is custom-made for each patient and you can match the contents according to the patient's preferences and mood. These stimuli allow the patient to exercise different brain functions that are generally deteriorating."

So far the developers have not received any proposals for commercial marketing, and the system is used solely for academic research.

Reproduced with permission: Ynet



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