A revolutionary portable test called Fastball EEG has received a significant £1.5 million funding boost, offering hope for revolutionizing the early detection and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
This innovative test measures patients’ brain waves while they view a series of images displayed on a screen, using an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset connected to a computer to analyze the patterns. Research indicates its effectiveness in detecting subtle changes associated with memory recall, potentially indicating the onset of dementia.
The key advantage of the Fastball EEG test lies in its passive and objective approach, eliminating biases inherent in subjective memory tests. Patients can comfortably undergo the test at home, avoiding the need for clinical visits. This enhanced portability opens up new possibilities for early diagnosis and intervention.
To support this groundbreaking endeavor, a five-year project led by researchers from the University of Bath and Cumulus Neuroscience, a commercial partner, has secured funding. The project aims to test Fastball EEG on over 1,000 individuals at a dementia clinic in Bristol. The ultimate objective is to refine the technology and develop it into a widely implementable product within the National Health Service (NHS).
Dr. George Stothart, a project co-lead from the University of Bath, emphasizes the urgent need for faster and more accurate dementia diagnosis. Current diagnoses often occur up to 20 years after disease onset. The potential of Fastball EEG lies in reducing the age of diagnosis by up to five years, allowing for earlier treatment access and enabling better planning for patients and their families.
Dr. Coulthard, an associate professor in dementia neurology at the University of Bristol, highlights the transformative impact of Fastball on the patient’s journey to diagnosis. The simplicity and ease of administration of this test can significantly reduce waiting times and alleviate the stress associated with current diagnostic procedures. Moreover, early Alzheimer’s diagnosis becomes crucial for ensuring equitable access to care and overcoming language barriers as new treatments emerge.
The introduction of the Fastball EEG test represents a significant advancement in dementia diagnosis, offering hope for the early identification of cases and improving the lives of affected individuals. Continued research and development of this portable test hold the potential to transform dementia care, leading to earlier interventions and improved outcomes.
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