With a wealth of digital data at our fingertips,
now is the time to transform the early detection of the diseases that cause dementia.
Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN) is an ambitious project spearheaded by Alzheimer’s Research UK to develop an innovative approach to detect diseases like Alzheimer’s years before the symptoms of dementia start.
Today the diseases that cause dementia are diagnosed when symptoms like memory loss start. To have the best chance of halting them, we need to intervene decades earlier, when these diseases first start to take hold.
Every hour of every day, our brains are controlling everything we do. Our mood, our memory and the way we move, sleep and interact. Subtle variations in these behaviours could provide vital clues to the presence of diseases like Alzheimer’s in their very earliest stage.
What does EDoN do?
EDoN brings together global experts in data science, digital technology and neurodegeneration to develop a digital tool for the early detection of diseases that cause dementia.
We aim to collect huge amounts of digital data generously donated by research study volunteers using smartphone apps and wearable devices, like watches and headbands. By linking the data to clinical tests, such as brain scans, we aim to identify digital data patterns, or 'fingerprints', that allow us to detect the earliest signs of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Ultimately, EDoN will develop and test a digital device that can pick up these ‘fingerprints’ in people who don’t have any obvious symptoms of dementia. This could transform research efforts, helping scientists make faster breakthroughs in understanding the diseases that cause dementia and enabling them to test potential new preventions and treatments.
How will EDoN benefit you?
In future, these digital data fingerprints could help doctors to detect the early stages of a disease like Alzheimer’s 10-15 years before we can today.
If we can do that, we have the best chance of stopping these diseases before the symptoms of dementia start to get in the way of life, keeping people connected to their world, their families and themselves for longer.