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Revolutionising Dementia Care: A Future Envisioned Through Innovation

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The second session of the dementia inquiry focused on improving population health through innovation, bringing the benefits of technology and AI to reshape dementia care.

The second session of the Dementia Inquiry focused on the issue of innovation improving population health, bringing into focus the potential of technology and AI to reshape dementia care. Two prominent voices, Director of Population Health at Microsoft, Geraint Lewis, and Professor of Experimental Psychology at University of Cambridge, Professor Zoe Kourtzi, painted a vivid portrait of how innovation could redefine the landscape of dementia prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Their insights revealed a vision where technology empowers, augments, and revolutionises the care journey for those impacted by dementia.

Pioneering a Tech-Driven Paradigm for Dementia Care

Geraint Lewis, Director of Population Health at Microsoft, opened the discussion with a compelling narrative of embracing innovation to tackle the dementia challenge. A visionary with over 15 years of NHS experience, Lewis has championed the creation of ‘virtual wards,’ an ingenious concept that extends care into the homes of patients. He underscored the transformative potential of technology, particularly AI, in altering the trajectory of dementia prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Lewis’s reflections on technology’s role in dementia care highlighted both the possibilities and pitfalls. He articulated the promising notion of a clinically silent phase of dementia, potentially extending up to two decades. This phase represents a critical juncture where intervention could slash the incidence of dementia-related conditions, such as diabetes, by a substantial 40 per cent. His narrative echoed the sentiment that early action yields significant rewards.

“Embracing technology and AI in dementia care is not about replacing the human touch, but rather augmenting it with the transformative power of innovation while ensuring patient safety and wellbeing.”

Geraint Lewis 

However, amid the allure of technology, Lewis struck a note of caution. He cautioned against unwavering faith in technology’s infallibility. Embracing responsible AI frameworks, he emphasised the imperative to navigate technology’s deployment with meticulous care. By honouring guidelines and addressing potential limitations, technology’s transformational potential could be harnessed while safeguarding patient safety, privacy, and overall wellbeing.

Empowering Precision Care through AI

Professor Kourtzi’s insights encapsulated the extraordinary power of AI in transforming dementia care. As a Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, her work resonates at the intersection of science, technology, and human wellbeing. Professor Kourtzi envisions an AI-augmented future where early detection, personalised care, and prevention flourish.

The bedrock of Professor Kourtzi’s vision rests on clinically relevant, biologically informed models. These models, rooted in scientific understanding, harbour the potential to propel early prediction and detection of neurogenerative diseases, including dementia. By deciphering the neurological origins of dementia before symptoms manifest, interventions and preventive measures could take root, potentially altering the course of the disease.

“In the convergence of science and technology, AI becomes a beacon of hope in redefining dementia care – from early detection to precision interventions – empowering both patients and clinicians alike.”

Professor Zoe Kourtzi

Professor Kourtzi advocated for models that remain interpretable – demystifying the AI decision-making process. Her emphasis on global solutions was a resounding call to action in a world where dementia knows no borders. And as AI sifts through vast troves of multimodal data, these models harness their power to distinguish between stable individuals and those likely to experience various dementia progressions, paving the way for tailored interventions.

Ultimately, Kourtzi’s vision underscored AI’s capacity to redefine clinical pathways, ushering in precision care and enabling drug discovery. By amplifying clinicians’ capabilities and carving out nuanced patient categories, AI transcends automation to become a true partner in elevating dementia care.

A Glimpse into the Future: A Blueprint for Dementia Care Transformation

This session crystallised the potential and challenges that innovation and AI bring to dementia care. The journey toward revolutionising dementia care necessitates a balanced approach. The session’s discourse illuminated the opportunities for leveraging technology to enhance early diagnosis, personalise care, and harness data for improved outcomes.

The cautionary tales outlined throughout Lewis and Professor Kourtzi’s presentations guide us through the uncharted territory of innovation. Responsible AI frameworks and biologically informed models are the sentinels that shield us from unintended consequences.

The symphony of innovation resonates not just with technology enthusiasts but with policymakers, clinicians, and individuals affected by dementia. It beckons us to envisage a future where dementia’s relentless march is slowed, where patient journeys are tailored, and where the promise of AI and innovation coalesce to illuminate a brighter path for those impacted by this complex condition.

As we reflect on these insights, we are reminded that the journey toward dementia care’s transformation is an evolution. By embracing innovation’s potential and acknowledging its limitations, we pave the way for a future where technology is an ally, and the pursuit of better dementia care becomes a shared global endeavour.

Watch the full video here:

About the Dementia Programme

To find out more about the Dementia Commission and the future inquiry session, please contact team@curiauk.com or visit www.curiauk.com and read more through the NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission microsite. 

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