An application to detect Alzheimer’s disease

News 7 December, 2017
  • Photo Jean-François Desgagnés
    Dr. Patrick Bernier, and the physicist Christian Gourdeau have teamed up to develop the application QuoCo, which allows you to follow the cognition of elderly patients.

    Dominique Lelièvre

    Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:00

    Thursday, 7 December 2017 00:00

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    It will be easier than ever to detect in a patient with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease thanks to a mobile application developed by a team combining medicine and mathematics to Quebec.

    Dr. Patrick Bernier explains to have had the idea six years ago to apply to the geriatrics, the concept of the growth curves used for a long time in pediatrics. To his surprise, no solution really suitable was available.

    “When we grow older, we all lose a bit of memory and cognition, it is normal, but what is the difference between the normal and the pathological ? It is the tool that we have come to do, ” says the gp who has put six years, without any form of subsidy, to develop QuoCo with his colleagues.

    The application, available for phones and tablets, is intended for the medical staff who can thus situate his / her patients in relation to average values and to follow their evolution.

    Curves of cognitive

    An algorithm determines in a blink of an eye the profile of the patient from his / her age, level of education and their test results of memory used by clinicians for years. It is then possible to compare the ” curves cognitive “, made from bases of canadian and u.s. data.

    The tool takes all its sense when the experiment is repeated at least one other time. The trajectory that emerges makes it possible to predict if an individual is at risk of developing a disease cognitive well before the reveals a simple questionnaire, ” said Dr. Bernier.

    The program detects successfully the symptoms associated with dementia 80 % of the time, says the physicist Christian Gourdeau, the brain of the software and its modelling. The result thus obtained does not constitute a diagnosis, but it “raises a flag” shows there.

    “Enjoy life “

    The designers admit to have been surprised to see that nobody had thought of their idea before. “It took the interaction between a gang of doctors who wanted to innovate, who think outside of the box, and pure mathematics,” says Dr. Bernier, who has patented the whole.

    Even if there is still no therapeutic treatment against Alzheimer’s disease, its early detection makes a difference, adds to the general practitioner. “I often tell my patients that it is a bad new, but, now, what he needs to do is to enjoy life. “

    The efforts of researchers have been rewarded by the publication this week of an article in the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal, which could well make travelling the application beyond the borders of Québec.

    Alzheimer’s disease by the numbers

    • 564 000 : the number of Canadians currently suffering from a disease cognitive
    • 25,000 : number of new cases per year
    • 65 % : the proportion of women among those diagnosed after the age of 65
    • $ 10.4 billion : annual cost of care for people with

    * Source : Alzheimer Society of Canada