Researchers for ElMindA have been analyzing brain function for over a decade to discover a way to earlier detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. This research could help doctors start treatments earlier and delay the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s.
“As you look at people as they grow older, from a health perspective they are probably more afraid of losing their memory than they are of getting cancer,” says Dr. Jeffrey Lowenkron, chief medical officer of The Villages Health and medical practice in The Villages, according to Evergreen Wellness.
The solution they have come up with is called Brain Network Activation, BNA, and is designed to influence machine-learning, and advance algorithms and large databases to understand how neural networks are activated and function inside the brain. The researchers created a study that uses BNA technology to help map a healthy brain.
Almost 1,000 people from The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, participated in BNA’s research study.
The process begins with individuals putting on a hair net-like device that monitors electrodes. The person is given a series of computer tasks to complete while an EEG records. Using the electrode information that was recorded during the task, a 3D representation is created from the information.
The goal of this is to develop what a healthy brain looks like so physicians can compare it to a brain with Alzheimer’s or a different brain disease. In turn, this should result in better-educated medical decisions and the ability to compare multiple tests over time.
“In the future, doctors could routinely test how well a patient’s brain is functioning, just like they routinely test for cholesterol levels, vitamin deficiencies or other health problems today,” says Carla Vandeweerd, the study’s Co-Principal Investigator who serves as Director of Research for The Villages Health and is a faculty member at the University of South Florida.
Right now, BNA technology has been used for looking at brain damage from concussions, but they hope this technology will be just as effective for analyzing and detecting other brain disorders.