Healthy over 60s sought for research into early Alzheimer's detection

Healthy over 60s sought for research into early Alzheimer's detection

University of Aberdeen academics working to find a new way of detecting Alzheimer's disease at an earlier stage are looking for healthy volunteers to take part in a research study.

The team are looking to recruit around 120 people aged over 60 to help develop smartphone and tablet-based tests of memory.

The project is in collaboration with Genting TauRx Diagnostic Centre Sdn. Bhd. (GTDC), a joint venture company between Genting Berhad of Malaysia and TauRx Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Aberdeen. 

One of GTDC’s main objectives is the development of tools and systems for the diagnosis and detection of Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia.

“Research has shown us that Alzheimer’s disease affects certain brain structures early on, which has consequences for specific memory abilities”, says Dr Suzannah Morson of the University of Aberdeen.

“By teaming up with GTDC we have been able to build tests which look at these memory abilities and, using the latest smartphone and tablet technology, have created a user-friendly and engaging test with the potential to detect warning signs of future memory problems.

“It is normal for our memory to change as we get older so, in order to make sure our test is working correctly, we need to look at exactly how it changes in healthy ageing, which is where our volunteers will come in. We are looking for people aged over 60 in the local area who would be prepared to visit us at the University regularly over the next 2 years, so we can build up a picture of how people with no real memory concerns complete our test over a long period of time.

“We can then compare the results that we obtained in the healthy elderly to data from patients with a formal diagnosis of dementia, and we should end up with a test which is more sensitive to early impairments than the tests currently used for dementia diagnosis.

“The healthy volunteers will also be helping us with the design of the test, to make it as easy to use and engaging as possible."

Volunteers will have travel costs reimbursed for their trips to the University of Aberdeen for the tests. Test sessions will occur in small groups, with tea and coffee provided.

Anyone interested in getting involved, should email Dr Suzannah Morson at himemory@abdn.ac.uk