Alzheimer's continues to be a major and steadily growing problem for healthcare systems, with an estimated 5 million patients affected by the disease in the US alone.
Recent pharmaceutical approaches to the disease have experienced setbacks, making early detection and diagnosis ever more important.
Adding to the hunt for biomarkers, such as blood tests and advanced imaging, is a new crop of digital and wearable-based approaches. Investment is increasingly flowing towards these enterprises as the recent news on Altoida clearly shows. Philanthropy is also progressively betting on digital diagnostics in AD, with Bill Gate's and Jeff Bezo's joined initiative now reaching $50 million in available funds https://www.alzdiscovery.org/news-room/announcements/the-addf-announces-new-research-initiative-to-advance-digital-tools
Currently, focus is on early detection of subtle changes in cognitive behavior such as speech, object recognition, and motor function (see this excellent review by L. Kourtis in npj here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0084-2)
It will be interesting to see which digital approach will gain most traction with physicians and patients in the end.
Searching for early, more accurate and scalable preclinical markers of Alzheimer’s disease has been the holy grail for clinicians, researchers and pharma companies alike that are trying to predict Alzheimer’s-type cognitive decline and develop early interventions