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DkIT Researchers Receive Funding for Dementia Prediction Project

28 October 2022

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) are delighted to report that NetwellCASALA at DkIT has received funding through the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre Insight.  The project is one of seven which will be funded under a scheme to support collaborations between Insight and the Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities. The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics is investing a total of €350k in these new partnerships. NetwellCASALA has received funding which will facilitate the research centre to collaborate with Tyndall Institute in Cork on a project exploring dementia prediction.

Currently, more than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, with nearly 10 million new cases every year. Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally. Presently, no drug can significantly change the course of dementia.  Major forms of dementia begin years, sometimes decades, before symptoms become apparent. The accurate prediction of diagnosis, years before symptoms occur, may represent the best chance of effectively slowing or stopping the disease.

The study which will be undertaken by NetwellCASALA will utilise the UK Biobank dataset to investigate whether a small set of features can be used to predict dementia before it is diagnosed. The features include socio-demographics, self-reported health indications and physical activity monitoring from wearable sensors. The project will see state-of-the-art models for Artificial Intelligence (AI) predictive analytics being developed, these will incorporate new innovative cutting-edge techniques. The outputs of the data analytics will then be evaluated with potential end users of the model outputs, including healthcare professionals.

Dr Julie Doyle, Director, NetwellCASALA, DkIT said:

“I am delighted to be collaborating with Dr Brendan O ’Flynn and Dr Salvatore Tedesco in Tyndall on this very important area of research. Dementia impacts around 55,000 people in Ireland. If we can detect that someone is likely to develop dementia, measures can be implemented to slow progression, allowing people with dementia to live well for longer.”

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