Healthcare Panel: Accelerating Discovery and Innovation for Precision Brain Health?

Abstract: Despite the depth and breadth of Alzheimer’s Disease research, effective methods for treatment remain elusive. Technology is changing what we can do and how we can do it. Digital technologies have translated into a plethora of wearable sensors and smart home devices flooding the market, with more devices in the pipeline. They offer a solution for monitoring and detecting modifiable brain health related risk factors and behavioral symptoms well before changes meet the threshold for clinical diagnosis. The more transformative opportunity, however, lies in a shift from a medical intervention model of “personalized medicine” to a more comprehensive focus on “personalized brain health” that focuses on preventing disease altogether. Current and emerging artificial intelligence/data science approaches are critical to meeting this scientific vision but are highly dependent on access to high quality healthcare data resources. We address the challenge of shifting longstanding clinical research policies and practices to one centered on lowering the barriers to data sharing and embracing as well as incentivizing team science.

Bio: Rhoda Au is Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Neurology and Epidemiology at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public. Since 1990, she has conducted research related to cognitive aging and dementia at the Framingham Heart Study, and has recently included integrating digital technology into the cognitive assessment process to identify digital biomarkers as surrogate indices to more expensive and invasive fluid and imaging biomarkers and using “big data” analytics to identify novel AD pathways and treatments. She is also building multi-sector ecosystems to generate solutions that move the focus on precision medicine to one centered more broadly on precision health.