First RADAR-AD participant completes 2 month participation in RADAR-AD study

The first participant enrolled in the main RADAR-AD study has completed the two-month assessment period of the study. During this period the participant interacted with apps and wearable devices which measured their physical activity, sleep and heart rate, as well as thinking abilities and spatial navigation.

The RADAR-AD study

The goal of RADAR-AD is the development and validation of technology-enabled, quantitative and sensitive measures of functional decline in people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. To achieve this goal, the RADAD-AD consortium has set up three studies. The first and main one comprises the setting up of wearable devices at the time when participants visit the clinic. This study is executed across all participating European clinical sites.

Study setup and performed tests

The duration of the data collection period is 8 weeks for each participant. In this period, study participants visit their local clinical site twice. The first clinical visit is the baseline visit. During this visit, there are standard tests performed such as a neuropsychological examination and physical assessment tests. At this time participants are also asked questions about their social behaviour and activities of daily living. In addition to that, researchers are inquiring into the mood, sleep and physical exercise of the participants. They also ask questions about participants’ everyday cognition and assess their memory, linguistic and planning skills and thinking abilities in general.

Applications and devices

After the tests have been performed, RADAR-AD researchers move to install the applications used in the RADAR-AD study and hand out the devices that participants will be using in the next two months.

Remote assessment and final visit

When participants have finished their first visit in the hospital – the baseline visit, they head home for a two-month long remote assessment when they would actively use the apps and devices they received from the researchers. In the meantime, RADAR-AD researchers keep in touch with the participants every other week. They call participants to ask what their experience of the use of devices and apps is and if there are any technical issues or complaints that need to be addressed. The two-month period ends with an end-of-study-visit, in which the participant visits the clinic to hand in all the devices used and uninstall the apps.

Lessons learned

RADAR-AD researcher Marijn Muurling - Amsterdam UMC, shares lessons learned from the first completion of the data collection period of the main RADAR-AD study:

“We learned that it is useful to prepare the first visit of the participants well. We need to prepare the devices beforehand, create accounts and test if they are working. In this way, we hope to minimize the time participants have to spend at the clinic during their baseline visit. This visit takes 4 to 5 hours, which is no problem for healthy participants, but for people with dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment it can be exhausting”.

Experience

The participant who finalised the first data collection period shares that they had a very positive experience. Among others, they said they liked the study, especially the app games. They enjoyed using the devices and, despite minor technical issues which were resolved very quickly, are happy to have participated in the study.

Marijn shares: “This positive experience is promising for the rest of the participants in the RADAR-AD study. I look forward to our next observations from other participants who will finalise their data collection period shortly.”