Camera Technology is Used to Provoke Memories in Alzheimer’s Patients

09memory_ca0-articleinlineIn addition to using GPS technology to track the whereabouts of Alzheimer’s patients, small digital cameras are now being used to record daily events in the hope that when reviewing the images, their memories will be triggered.

If you have ever seen “The Notebook,” where the main characters use a storybook to help jog an Alzheimer’s patients memory, imagine the Sensecam as a digitized version of recording life events to spark the failing memories of Alzheimer’s patients. Officials hope that beyond helping dementia patients retrieve their memories, family members will be saved having to prompt conversations over and over again.

The Sensecam, made by the British company Vicon, is easy to wear on a string around one’s neck and can take hundreds of pictures in a short time.

Once the pictures have been taken, the Sensecam official and a caregiver decide which photos will elicit the most salient responses in the patient and put them together in a slideshow. “The design is intended to give the patient the ability to engage actively with the experience instead of simply flipping through some pictures,” said Matthew Lee, a graduate student involved with the study.

Capturing and reviewing images on the Sensecam has already worked for 82 year-old Aron Reznick, an Alzheimer’s patient. This past December Reznick went through photos taken during a museum trip that included himself, his wife, a son and a granddaughter. Even though the event occurred more than a year and a half ago, he said, “I remember that,” when he came across a photo of bricks marked by donor names.

(Via The New York Times)

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