A Review of Interventions with Assistive Technologies for Patients with Cognitive Impairment

A Review of Interventions with Assistive Technologies for Patients with Cognitive Impairment

Panagiotis Georgakopoulos, Maria Chatzidimitriou, Magda Tsolaki
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8234-4.ch006
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Advances in technology in the last decade have created a diverse field of applications for the care of persons with cognitive impairment. This chapter is an attempt to review these advances in a systematic way, and focuses on observations of current software engineering systems (computer based assistive interventions) that contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cognitive problems. Nevertheless a holistic approach has been attempted, in order to view the research themes and applications that currently exist around the “intelligent systems” healthcare given to the cognitively impaired persons, thus looking at research directions, systems, technological frameworks and trends.
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Assistive Technologies

A Scope View

The scope of the emerging assistive technologies developed in the last years, which aim at aiding people with cognitive impairments, is simple. They intervene in the best way on the individual’s disability in a supportive manner. The support given may be diagnostic, short or long term therapeutic and in general contributing to the stimulation and reinforcement of the individual’s inherent adaptive capabilities. Kirsch and colleagues make a proposition for the engineering systems with this purpose, stated with the following words (Kirsch et al, 2004, Morganti et al 2005):

In regard to device features, an ideal intervention will be one that is minimally intrusive, provides assistance without assuming unnecessary control, and does not demand of the user an uncharacteristic level of comfort with technological aids.

From this retrospective view, we may find that in the vast research fields, many assistive technologies and methods aim at creating systems under this condition. The potential impact of any of these systems and tools is high, with little or much influence, not only because of the individual’s effort to preserve his health status, but also because of socioeconomic reasons.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assistive Technologies: The technologies and in essence the electronic and electrical systems – also underlying the role of communication systems here - that utilize mathematical processes in order to analyze, monitor, supervise and test real time digital data and/or real time electrical signals.

Computer Based Assistive Interventions: The technological aids – diagnostic, testing, training tools - which are implemented with software algorithms (intervention specific) and are interfaced mainly with general purpose computers.

Intelligent Systems: The algorithmic and measurement systems that process real time data in order to mimic those intelligent processes which are inherent in some biological processes.

Unobtrusive: The unobtrusive character of the assistive intervention system's architecture is important, so as the architecture and the implemented system can produce reliable results while minimizing the intervening system's errors.

Intervention: It is the process by which the reliable diagnosis and the unobtrusive supervision and testing of the patient's cognitive ability is achieved. The patient's monitored brain activity is provoked and aimed to be established to a healthy level utilizing neuro – adaptability.

Computer Gaming Applications: Those gaming applications that maximize the efficiency of the unobtrusive intervention, based on the general purpose computer – patient interaction.

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