An app is developed based on intangible cultural heritage to prevent memory loss in elderly people

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The Soft Computing(SOCO) research group of the Intelligent Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Center (IDEAI), leads the project LONG-REMI for the design of a technology application that can be used in reminiscence therapy.

The aim of the LONG-REMI project is to develop a technology application based on artificial intelligence that can be used to carry out reminiscence therapy periodically, in an individualised way that is adapted to the patients’ needs, taking as a basis all this shared heritage. This is a very simple, intuitive app designed to be used on a tablet, through which photographs, videos or questions can be shown relating to sayings, tongue-twisters and songs that function as stimuli to promote memories.

The aim of the application, which will be available at the end of the year, is to prevent cognitive impairment and avoid the effects of severe memory loss, and to improve mood and health in general. The app could be used in patients with or without cognitive impairment and will enable reminiscence therapy to be carried out in a more adaptable, convenient, economic way than with conventional treatments in which therapies are more costly due to the need for monitoring by specialists, and treatments are only carried out for dementia patients in occasional sessions.

One of the tasks carried out by UPC researchers is the development of an algorithm to guide the reminiscence therapy in an individualised way that is adapted to the specific needs of each user according to the cognitive impairment. To achieve this, artificial intelligence techniques of facial recognition are used that, through computer vision and automatic learning, can dynamically assess the emotions of the person while they carry out their activities, above all, by analysing the position of the mouth and the eyes.

The app will be tested next month, in September, by 60 elderly people in Spain and Portugal. Specifically, in Barcelona, a group of people will participate in tests carried out at the Casal de la Gent Gran in Baix Guinardó, the Associació Nou Horitzó and the Hospital de Dia Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili. Participants will be ten people with no cognitive impairment, ten people with mild cognitive impairment and ten people with mild dementia. The tests will consist in three individual 45-minute sessions that will enable an assessment of each person’s response to the stimuli presented in the application.

El projecte compta també amb la participació de la Fundació Salut i Envelliment de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) i de l’Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra (IPC) de a Portugal.

The LONG-REMI project is funded as part of the Programme for a Long-Lived Society by the CSIC foundation and European Union ERDF funds.

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