Grant to fund Butler research scientist’s work on early Alzheimer’s detection

A RESEARCH SCIENTIST at Butler Hospital has received a grant from the Alzheimer’s Association for her project on the use of digital platforms to assess memory and other mental functions. / COURTESY BUTLER HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE – A nearly $175,000 grant will help a Butler Hospital research scientist continue to assess how to use apps and other online platforms to detect subtle cognitive changes in people who have not yet experienced strong symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Louisa Thompson, who is also an instructor in psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, received a Clinician Scientist Fellowship Grant Award from the Alzheimer’s Association to help fund her project.

Thompson’s project, the DigiCog AD study, aims to contribute to treatment research by exploring the early detection of Alzheimer’s, as well as allow physicians and patients more time for planning.

With the three-year grant, Thompson plans to compare digital testing to standard tests done on pencil and paper that are currently used to help with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

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“Independent scientific research is critical for determining which new forms of technology might be most effective for Alzheimer’s screening. Minimizing [the] burden for patients and health care providers without compromising the accuracy of our tests is a major goal,” Thompson said.  “Using mobile technology to conduct a more dynamic assessment of cognitive function is particularly exciting to me. This real-time approach may be helpful for capturing very subtle cognitive decline within the context of daily living.”

In her work as a research scientist in Butler’s Memory and Aging program, Thompson conducts neuropsychological assessments with older patients along with her work on early-detection methods for Alzheimer’s.

To participate in Thompson’s current study, visit butler.org/AlzRegistry, email memory@butler.org or call 401-455-6402.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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