Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that is similar to senile dementia except that it begins in the later stages of life, usually after 40 years. Among the first signs and symptoms of the disease are impaired memory along with impaired thought and speech. However, these signs and symptoms appear after a significant damage to the brain.
This disease (along with many other psychiatric problems such as Parkinson’s) can be detected by doctors and experts with the help of drawing and/or writing. However, doctor’s or expert’s opinion matter a lot in detection of such problems, and these problems become apparent only when the patient has already advanced to serious conditions. Without an expert’s opinion, it is difficult to confirm the problem.
Recently, MIT researchers have developed a digital pen that is attached to a custom tracking software. This digital pen can help in finding the condition in early stages by knowing not only what the person draws but also how he/she draws an image or diagram. A simple fact is that healthy people spend more time in thinking, whereas people with memory problems spend a lot more time in thinking and patients of Parkinson’s disease struggle with the process of drawing.
MIT News (http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/could-pen-change-how-we-diagnose-brain-function-0813)
Souillard-Mandar et al. (2015). Learning Classification Models of Cognitive Conditions from Subtle Behaviors in the Digital Clock Drawing Test MLJ
Pioneering work by a collaboration of leading scientists from twelve universities across Australia, Singapore, Denmark and the USA publishing in the open access journal PLOS Biology on September 9 demonstrates how the rise of citizen oceanography will help dramatically advance global ocean health and will aid in gaining a better understanding of the world’s valuable marine resources.
While much attention is placed on macro-fauna in our seas (mammals and fish, for example), it is the tiny, marine microbes that underpin the nutrient cycle and form the foundation of the food web. Collectively known as the marine microbiome, they are the most abundant organisms in the oceans, and they are perhaps the most vulnerable in a changing global ocean.
Because the ocean is a dynamic and tremendously large eco-system, millions of observation points are required. However, traditional oceanographic research vessels are unable to cover this vast space. “By using what’s known as ‘citizen science’, Indigo V Expeditions set out to prove that the concept of crowdsourcing oceanography can solve the great data collection bottleneck” said Professor Federico Lauro, Director of Indigo V Expeditions, the not-for-profit organisation behind the S/Y Indigo V concept cruise. Continue reading Crowdsourcing and Citizen Oceanography: Indigo V Expedition Pioneers Cost-Effective Ocean Health Monitoring→