June is Alzheimer’s disease month. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory and social ability to carry out tasks. This disease is complex, according to the NIH, and it is unlikely that any one drug or intervention will successfully treat it. Current approaches focus on helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of the disease.
According to the alz-journals, “By mid-century, the number of Americans of age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may grow to 13.8 million. This represents a steep increase from the estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older who have Alzheimer’s dementia today. Official death certificates recorded 122,019 deaths from AD in 2018, the latest year for which data are available, making Alzheimer’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death among Americans age 65 and older.” People affected by Alzheimer’s disease find it difficult to communicate with others and carry out daily tasks. Technology plays a strong role in helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease, their family members, and caregivers.
How is Alzheimer’s disease caused?
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are still under research. However, the medical community has concluded that at a basic level, brain proteins fail to function normally, disrupting the flow of information in neurons and triggering a series of failing events. The damaged neurons lose connections to each other and eventually die. Researchers trying to understand the cause of Alzheimer’s disease are focused on the role of two proteins: Plaques and Tangles.
How can it be treated?
Innovators, designers, and digital entrepreneurs are working with clinical researchers, and physicians to develop new ways to keep the neurons strong. Innovations include brain exercise apps, custom puzzles, digital photo frames, GPS locator technology, motion sensors, and clear labels. Such combinations of simple and complex inventions have improved the overall quality of life for people living with dementia. However, while these technologies have helped with specific tasks, one thing that’s been missing is the ability to connect them all to deliver a comprehensive quality of life.
Companies like Amazon and Google have stepped up to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. Amazon Echo and Google Home are “voice assistants,” allowing the patients to interact with their surroundings in a natural way. This assistance can help not only turn on lights and play music, but also deliver crucial medication reminders, operate appliances remotely, and provide safety (through motion detection).
Salesforce is taking the possibilities a step further. By providing underlying interoperability support, Salesforce can help create an ecosystem of care in which the platform connects with products of all sub-industries of healthcare and provides a greater level of care.
Provider and Payers: Salesforce’s provider network management allows the patient to receive cross-specialty care within the provider network. Care management application at payers and providers supports the care management program through which care teams can coordinate care between providers and patients.
MedTech: Salesforce allows medical devices to plug right into the Salesforce ecosystem so that care management can remotely activate and monitor medical devices while the patient is under specialized care.
Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences: Pharma companies are working with life sciences and technology companies to deliver intelligent medication disbursement. The Salesforce platform can provide intelligent pill reminders, auto-refills, and pill delivery networks.
As the technology platforms continue to evolve and mature, so will the quality of care that comes from the adoption of such technologies. With the introduction of AI and decision support, the healthcare industry is expected to find breakthroughs in research and development. Donating to Alzheimer’s research is a great way to contribute towards a cure to Alzheimer’s disease. Want to help? Learn about Salesforce’s walk to end Alzheimer’s Disease here.
“On behalf of the more than 5 million American’s living with Alzheimer’s disease, thank you for rallying around an important cause to many in our Ohana. As a Walk to End Alzheimer’s® National Team, Salesforce will be forming teams and raising funds for Walks across the country. The funds raised will advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Your team donations will play an important role in improving the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers.” —alz.org Salesforce Team.