Thursday, August 5

Driving can help diagnose Alzheimer’s | Digital Trends Spanish

According to research conducted by the University of Toronto, changes in the way you drive a vehicle over time could help diagnose Alzheimer’s.

Although the way of driving changes in all people over the years, in some there appear subtle differences in the way of controlling a vehicle which, according to scientists, would be related to the early stages of this disease.

In the United States, a group of people over the age of 65 agreed to have their driving monitored for a year. The researchers found that it was possible to detect the onset of the disease without resorting to invasive and expensive medical procedures.

Among the 139 people who were part of the study, medical tests had shown that half already had Alzheimer’s disease at a very early or preclinical stage. The other half did not.

Thus, those who had already been diagnosed tended to drive slower, make sudden changes, travel less at night and log fewer kilometers in general. They also visited a lesser variety of destinations when driving, sticking to more limited routes.

“The way people move in their everyday environment, from the places they visit to the way they drive, can tell us a lot about their health,” says Sayeh Bayat of the University of Toronto, who led the study.

From the driving data, the researchers were able to design a model that could predict the likelihood of someone having preclinical Alzheimer’s simply using their age and GPS driving data. According to them, the accuracy was 86 percent.

“Using these few indicators you can really, with very high confidence, identify whether a person has preclinical Alzheimer’s disease or not,” adds Bayat.

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