Technologies

View of an LCD circuit board

Understanding changes in the patterns of physical behaviour of a person with dementia can provide better outcome measures for clinical interventions. Monitoring these patterns also has the potential to provide real-time information when unusual or unexpected behaviours occur that might require attention.

The Theme is led by Professor Malcolm Granat from the School of Health and Society whose research aims to use technology to measure and quantify physical behaviour, using body-worn devices in conjunction with other sensors.

Current projects in this group include the use of body-worn monitors to detect falls (working in 25 care homes with Four Seasons Health Care and funded by the Peel Trust) and assessing the stability of walking aid use (funded by the Dunhill Trust). The group is also working with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust to assess the feasibility of monitoring free-living physical behaviour in patients with Frontotemporal dementia to develop novel outcomes that can monitor clinical changes.

Robotics and similar highly sophisticated technology can be used to support people living with dementia to live independently for as long as possible – and our work at Salford, with the School of Science, Engineering and Environment, incorporates this.

The Living Lab provides an experimental environment where intelligent software is developed and tested and is a visual example of how housing can be adapted using various technologies to support people living with dementia to remain independent for as long as possible.

Ongoing research includes a Medical Research Council (MRC) funded study called “Kinecting Frailty” evaluating user engagement with the MS Kinect when used for remote monitoring in the homes of frail adults. Furthermore My Intelligent Home (MIHome), a study funded via University of Salford, Salix Homes and the Salford Royal Trust, focuses on development of a remote monitoring healthcare system aiming to identify those at the risk of developing cognitive disorder and improve patient outcomes via an AI-based virtual companion intervention.

Projects

Characterising the sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transition in a free-living setting using body-worn monitoring

Project title

Characterising the sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transition in a free-living setting using body-worn monitoring (e.g. the activPAL activity monitor).

Theme

Technology

Funder and amount

None

Start and end dates

  • Start date: July 2015
  • End date: ongoing

Project lead name and email contact

Malcolm Granat

Email m.h.granat@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation

  • Malcolm Granat (UoS)
  • Alex Clarke-Cornwell (UoS)
  • Kristen Hollands (UoS)
  • Andy Kerr (University of Strathclyde)

150 word abstract summarising project

Standing-up and sitting-down use some of the largest muscles in the body and require considerable expenditure of energy and coordination to complete.  Change in the ability to stand-up, sit-down and walk is crucial and in older populations and people with dementia.  Their deterioration may indicate the onset of frailty and physical and cognitive decline.   

Currently, there is a paucity of reports on robustly quantifying sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transitions in free-living environments.  We aim to quantify these transitions using accelerometer data and determine whether this information could be used to monitor changes in people with dementia.

Data is being collected from a number of different groups and we will look at the use of information in building up a more detailed picture of the physical behaviour of people with dementia.

Publications

Pickford CG, Kerr A, Banger M, Clarke-Cornwell AM, Hollands K, Quinn T,  Granat MH.  Quantifying sit to stand and stand to sit transitions in free living populations” Submitted to MSSE

Conference presentations

Pickford C, Kerr A, Granat MH (2017) Quantifying the sit-to-stand an stand-to-sit transition from free-living data. 5th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (June 21-23, 2017, Bethesda, USA).

A novel body-worn falls detection system: development and evaluation in the frail elderly population

Project title

Characterising the sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transition in a free-living setting using body-worn monitoring (e.g. the activPAL activity monitor).

Theme

Technology

Funder and amount

None

Start and end dates

  • Start date: July 2015
  • End date: ongoing

Project lead name and email contact

Malcolm Granat

Email m.h.granat@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation

  • Malcolm Granat (UoS)
  • Alex Clarke-Cornwell (UoS)
  • Kristen Hollands (UoS)
  • Andy Kerr (University of Strathclyde)

150 word abstract summarising project

Standing-up and sitting-down use some of the largest muscles in the body and require considerable expenditure of energy and coordination to complete.  Change in the ability to stand-up, sit-down and walk is crucial and in older populations and people with dementia.  Their deterioration may indicate the onset of frailty and physical and cognitive decline.   

Currently, there is a paucity of reports on robustly quantifying sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transitions in free-living environments.  We aim to quantify these transitions using accelerometer data and determine whether this information could be used to monitor changes in people with dementia.

Data is being collected from a number of different groups and we will look at the use of information in building up a more detailed picture of the physical behaviour of people with dementia.

Publications

  1. Pickford CG, Kerr A, Banger M, Clarke-Cornwell AM, Hollands K, Quinn T,  Granat MH.  Quantifying sit to stand and stand to sit transitions in free living populations” Submitted to MSSE

Conference presentations

  1. Pickford C, Kerr A, Granat MH (2017) Quantifying the sit-to-stand an stand-to-sit transition from free-living data. 5th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (June 21-23, 2017, Bethesda, USA).

Activity monitoring of people with dementia using the activPAL and a home sensor network

Project title

Activity monitoring of people with dementia using the activPAL and a home sensor network

Theme

Technology

Funder and amount

Data used from other funded projects

Start and end dates

Open ended.

Project lead name and email contact

Malcolm Granat

Email m.h.granat@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation

  • Malcolm Granat (UoS)
  • Anthony Hodgson (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Bill Ollier (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Claire Royston (Four Seasons Health Care)

150 word abstract summarising project

A major challenge is to see increased numbers of people with dementia being able to live longer in their own homes, with a greater focus on independent living.   Abnormal changes to day-to-day physical behaviour such as very long daytime sedentary periods and frequent occasions of getting up at night are detrimental to health and may also highlight underlying health issue. These changes often go unnoticed by carers and the individuals themselves until cumulative changes result in adverse health issues.

The aim of this study is to determine if continuously monitoring physical behaviour using a body-worn activity monitors (potentially in combination with home sensor network) can extract measures on the changes to normal physical behaviour that could be used to provide real-time alerts.  

Conference presentations

  1. Sankarpandi S, Thies S, Royston S, Kenney L, Granat MH.  Can continuous monitoring of physical behaviour of older adults in care homes provide useful information to improve care? 5th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (June 21-23, 2017, Bethesda, USA).
  2. Pickford C, Gerrard-Longworth S, Sankarpandi S, Clarke-Cornwell A, Granat MH.  24-hour population-level activity patterns: application of relative versus standard reference Frame. 5th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (June 21-23, 2017, Bethesda, USA).

Investigating alterations in autophagy in frontotemporal lobar degeneration AND Exploring protein degradation deficits

Project title

  1. Investigating alterations in autophagy in frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  2. Exploring protein degradation deficits in Alzheimer’s disease

Funder and amount

  1. ARUK (£80,467 PhD studentship grant)
  2. ARUK Local Network Equipment grant (2014 £1,400, 2015/16 £3,000)

Start and end dates

Start date:

  • October 2015
  • October 2014

End date:

  • October 2019
  • October 2018

Project lead name and email contact

Gemma Lace-Costigan

Email: g.l.lace-costigan@salford.ac.uk

Project team

  • Gemma Lace-Costigan
  • Richard Heale
  • Diana Stan
Abstract

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) refers to a group of diseases characterised by personality and behavioural changes and cognitive impairment.  FTD is an early onset dementia largely affecting people aged 45-64. The brains of people with FTD often present with abnormal protein aggregation and cell death. The protein aggregates relate to genetic mutations, with the most common FTD mutations being in C9orf72, GRN and MAPT genes.

Autophagy is a normal intracellular mechanism that functions to degrade damaged/abnormal cellular proteins. There are three main autophagy pathways: microautophagy, macroautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy. Recent studies have linked C9orf72 and GRN to autophagy disruption, however, the nature of this impairment is unclear.

This project is using human brain tissue from the Manchester Brain Bank to explore how the different autophagy pathways may be failing to clear abnormal proteins.  By identifying which parts of the pathways are dysfunctional, novel therapeutic strategies can be devised.

Publications

R. Heale, R.L.Henck, D.M.Stan, G.L.Lace-Costigan. Investigating the role of macroautophagy in Frontotemporal Lobar degeneration (2017), Oral Abstracts. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol, 43: 11–31. doi:10.1111/nan.12382

D.M. Stan, A. Robinson, Y. Davidson, D. Mann, A. Mastin, G.L. Lace-Costigan (2017), Investigating alterations in autophagy in Alzheimer's disease using post-mortem human brain tissue.Poster Abstracts. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol, 43: 32–57. doi:10.1111/nan.12383

Conference presentations

118th meeting of the British Neuropathological Society, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK, 1-3 March 2017 (Oral)

Alzheimer’s Research UK, Aberdeen, March 2017 (Posters)

Frontotemporal Dementia Meeting, Cambridge, UK, September 2016 (Posters)

Other dissemination activities

  1. World Duty Free Lab Tours (sponsored by  Alzheimer’s Research UK) (March 2017)
  2. Key 103 Interview and BBC Radio Manchester   ‘Link between dementia and city living’ (Jan 17)
  3. BBC Radio 5 Live Steven Nolan Sat night   shoe ‘Dementia Research at Salford’ (22nd April 17)
  4. Interview with John Windell for the   Biomedical Scientist Magazine (March 17)
  5. The Salford Science Jam as part of the   Manchester Science Festival (October 2016)
  6. The North West ARUK Public Engagement   Event May 2017

Website links

Dementia researchers to share findings with public in Salford

Exploring protein degradation deficits in Alzheimers disease

Project title

Exploring protein degradation deficits in Alzheimers disease    

Theme

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence; Technology    

Funder and amount

ARUK Local Network Equipment grant    

2014 - £1,400    

Start and end dates

2014 to July 2015    

Project lead name and email contact

Gemma Lace-Costigan    

g.l.lace-costigan@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation

Gemma Lace-Costigan    

150 word abstract summarising project

Funding was awarding to purchase a hand held brain homogeniser and equipment to stain human brain tissue for neurodegenerative disease biomarkers.

Exploring the role of parasitic infection in dementia risk

Project title

Exploring the role of parasitic infection in dementia risk

Theme

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence; Technology

Funder and amount

2 self funding PhD students

Start and end dates

October 2016 to October 2020

Project lead name and email contact

Gemma Lace-Costigan

g.l.lace-costigan@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation

  • Dr Gemma Lace-Costigan
  • Prof Geoff Hide
  • Bader Alawfi
  • Ayed Alshammari

150 word abstract summarising project

Toxoplasma gondii is an important pathogen in all warm blooded animals and humans, with approximately one third of the human population predicted to be infected. Toxoplasma gondii has been implicated in number of neurological disorders, including schizophreniabut the relationship between Toxoplasma gondii infection and dementia is unclear.

This study will investigate how Toxoplasma gondii impacts brain cell function and how this relates to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Investigating the influence of adipokines in dementia

Project title

Investigating the influence of adipokines in dementia

Theme

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence; Technology

Funder and amount

Self funding PhD student (tuition fees + £7,000/year bench fees)

Start and end dates

January 2017 to January 2021

Project lead name and email contact

Gemma Lace-Costigan

g.l.lace-costigan@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation (eg internal staff school, external staff department and university/organisation)

  • Dr Gemma Lace-Costigan
  • Dr Sarah Withers
  • Neha Tomar (PhD Student)

150 word abstract summarising project

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common causes of dementia and effects around 500,000 people in the UK alone.

Studies have shown that obesity increases the risk for AD and substances released by fat cells (adipokines) have been shown to influence abnormal protein accumulation in AD. However, the biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still unclear.

This study aims to use cellular based laboratory methods to explore the molecular events that underlie the link between obesity and dementia.

Other dissemination activities

  1. North west ARUK Public Engagement Event

 

 

Exploring freeliving behaviour with people affected by Fronto-temporal Dementia using body worn-activity monitors

Project title

Exploring freeliving behaviour with people affected by Fronto-temporal Dementia using body worn-activity monitors (e.g. the activPAL)

Theme

Technology

Funder and amount

None

Start and end dates

September 2017

Project lead name and email contact

Malcolm Granat

Email m.h.granat@salford.ac.uk

Project team names and institutional affiliation 

  • Malcolm Granat (UoS)
  • Anthony Hodgson (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Matt Jones (Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust)

150 word abstract summarising project

The aim is to assess the feasibility of monitoring free-living physical behaviour in patients with Fronto temporal dementia (FTD) to develop outcome that can monitor clinical changes.

We will recruit in the order of 15-20 of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust patients with FTD.

The study will involve assessing the feasibility of monitoring the patients’ physical behaviour (walking sitting etc) by them “wearing” an accelerometer device on the thigh for a week long period at intervals over a one year pilot.  Exact timings to be decided after consultation with participants. This will be correlated with aspects of behaviour assessed by diaries and some clinical psychological assessments (to be determined).

Ethics application is now being prepared.  Will be submitted over the next few months, with recruitment starting before the end of the year.