A startup founded by an Imperial graduate has launched the first app to contribute to early diagnosis of dementia through artificial intelligence.
Mindset, founded by Imperial College London graduate Hamzah Selim, have launched the first version of their community-driven artificial intelligence (AI) dementia diagnosis app, giving everyone the chance to join the fight against dementia.
Their mobile application screens for dementia by guiding the user through clinically validated diagnostic tests. Based on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, Mindset screens for neurological anomalies and uses artificial intelligence to accurately flag clinically relevant findings.
Distinguishing between normal and at-risk brains
The team is currently collecting data on how the human brain works through the app, in both people with and without dementia. This will help to teach the AI how the brain works, what a healthy brain looks like and eventually to distinguish between normal and at-risk users.
Currently around 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, with many more going undiagnosed. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with vulnerable people unable to access vital neurological care and struggling with mental health decline.
With the app, patients answer a series of questions and complete cognitive exercises that mirror both the screening process and data collection that is usually done in person by a doctor.
A common sign of dementia is a lack of vertical eye movement, which is usually assessed by asking the patient to follow a doctor’s finger. Mindset animates an object for the patient to track and uses the phone’s technology to quantify the user’s eye movement, mimicking a robust clinical analysis. By directly assessing a range of symptoms, the team can rely on more than just self-reported symptoms.
It’s about taking the great parts of the NHS and putting it in your pocket Hamzah Selim Mindset founder
Speaking to the Evening Standard about the fear many older people may feel about going into a clinic or a hospital in current times, Hamzah said: “Mindset is on your phone. It is completely safe. It is never going to be as good as a neurologist, but it reduces the anxiety and provides a crucial portal of connection between patients and doctors.”
He added: “It’s about taking the great parts of the NHS and putting it in your pocket and there’s lots of quirky ways to do that. It’s not about replacing doctors either but giving them a tool which can boost efficiency.”
Increasing accessibility of neurological care
The team hope that remote screening of dementia will increase accessibility of neurological care and allow clinicians to work safely while caring for a greater number of patients. Post-launch, they will construct a clinician interface for the app and attain a CE Mark which will allow Mindset to be fully integrated within the NHS as a screening tool. According to the team, this could significantly reduce NHS dementia-related spending, improve patient prognosis, and ensure care is accessible to all.
Mindset was co-founded by Hamzah Selim, a graduate of Imperial’s BSc in Neuroscience and Mental Health, who is now a medical student at UCL. The team worked closely with Imperial’s Enterprise Lab and took part in 2019’s Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) competition.
Image credits: Mindset
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