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Students' App Helps Dementia Patients Find Memories

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A screenshot from the RememberMe! app.

An app developed by Cornell University researchers can help Alzheimer's patients stay connected to their memories.

Credit: Cornell Chronicle

Cornell University researchers have developed Remember Me!, an application that offers to help Alzheimer's patients stay connected to their memories and could help them keep a conversation going.

"We thought we should build something that would help bring back memories," says Cornell researcher Karthik Venkataramaiah.

He says the app is installed on the patient's phone, as well as those belonging to friends, family, and caregivers. The app uses global-positioning system tracking and a connection to the cloud to flash an alert to the patient when one of the group members is nearby. The phone tells the patient who is approaching, their relationship to that person, and a slideshow of previously uploaded pictures. If the patient receives a text or phone call from someone registered in the app, a screen pops up with similar information.

The app also provides reminders based on stored facts and previous conversations, suggesting questions to ask based on information it has about life events.

The researchers plan to apply natural-language processing techniques to the patient's speech patterns to predict what the patient might say next, while caregivers can send reminders to take medicine, make phone calls, or complete particular tasks.

From Cornell Chronicle
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