Case study: Cognetivity Neurosciences transforms early dementia detection with AI-powered visual stimuli test

Cognetivity Neurosciences is a UK company reinventing the early detection of dementia though advances in neuroscience and AI. It  deploys its platform globally using the power of InterSystems IRIS for Health cloud data management platform.

Based on research carried out at Cambridge University, Cognetivity has created the unique, Integrated Cognitive Assessment test (ICA) test, which detects dementia far earlier than conventional methods and with a higher degree of accuracy. Simple and non-invasive, the ICA picks up the earliest signs of disease before the onset of memory loss symptoms. It has the potential to transform treatment and care for millions of dementia sufferers around the globe, enabling earlier intervention to delay onset and reduce mortality. The solution is now being commercially rolled out in the US, UK, Europe and UAE.

The ICA is based on humans’ strong reaction to animal stimuli, and the ability of a healthy brain to process images of animals in less than 200ms. It is a rapid visual categorisation test, engaging brain areas affected in pre-symptomatic stages of Alzheimer’s and detecting subtle impairments in information processing speed, aiming to detect the earliest signs of disease before the onset of memory loss symptoms.

Built on the data capabilities of InterSystems IRIS for Health

Ease of data integration and interoperability with healthcare systems are utterly essential for any new diagnostic technology. Cognetivity Neurosciences selected InterSystems as its technology partner to support its innovative use of AI in a solution that is fast, sensitive, low cost and fully interoperable. Its ICA platform is significantly benefited by the advanced cloud data management and integration capabilities of InterSystems’ highly advanced IRIS for Health data management platform for its clinical effectiveness and scalability.

IRIS for Health is uniquely suited for this demanding role, being engineered specifically to extract insight from healthcare data. It is able to achieve seamless integration of proprietary data with high volumes of clinical data that already exist, achieving full compliance with mandatory data standards, such as HL7 V2 and FHIR in the NHS. So far, InterSystems has successfully integrated with around 200 different information systems, including those of the biggest EHR providers in the UK and US, including Cerner, Epic and Allscripts. This high level of integration with electronic healthcare records (EHRs) will power the wider adoption of Cognetivity’s technology in healthcare systems throughout the world.

The use of IRIS for Health enables Cognetivity to take full advantage of internet interoperability, connecting equally effectively with consumer devices and medical grade equipment. In practice, InterSystems-enabled interoperability allows patients to use existing hardware in the form of iPads and smartphones for the ICA test. This also ensures critical information reaches the right person at the right time, enabling effective decision-making. As an entirely scalable solution, the ICA can greatly improve the efficiency of existing patient pathways, as well as providing vital remote monitoring. Further developments of the project are exploring its ability to provide early detection of conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

The cutting-edge effectiveness of the solution and its InterSystems-powered interoperability have enabled Cognetivity’s ICA platform to gain approval from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. It has also been deployed by the specialist NHS mental health organisation North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust since September 2020, and is also in use in primary care in Sunderland. The UK government’s G-Cloud ICA platform has accepted the ICA and the solution was selected for the final cohort group in the Texas Medical Center’s Fall 2020 Innovation programme.

Faster diagnosis and better quality of life for millions of people

Through its AI-powered innovation and advanced interoperability, the ICA is a major advance, helping society deal with one of the most significant healthcare challenges it will face for decades to come. Its simplicity eradicates language, cultural or educational barriers, and bias, and also removes the ‘learning effect’ which distorts results when patients become familiar with a test. This enables the solution to achieve adoption almost anywhere in the world, making detection faster, cheaper and more reliable.

This simple test, easily conducted in any setting with connectivity, directly addresses the worldwide problem of dementia, which afflicts 54 million people, with the number set to rise to 130 million by 2050.

Dementia ruins lives and inflicts the burden of heavy costs of treatment and continuing care on families and healthcare systems. Earlier detection and access to associated specialist services and treatment together give sufferers the opportunity to make lifestyle changes which could delay the onset of symptoms by up to five years. This in turn has the potential to reduce the prevalence of dementia by 50 per cent among the general population. Individuals identified early on should live with milder symptoms for longer and with higher quality of life.

A report published by the Alzheimer’s Society and cited in the British Medical Journal, estimates delaying the onset of the disease could reduce the mortality rate from severe dementia by 30,000 annually. In the US, the US Alzheimer’s Association estimates early detection of mild cognitive impairment could save more than $7.9 trillion in health and care costs for the US population alone.

“Our collaboration with InterSystems has been a significant advantage in our development and growth,” said Dr Sina Habibi, Cognetivity CEO. “The experts at InterSystems share our passion about using technology to transform patient care for the better in ways that are bold and innovative. IRIS for Health provides us with the interoperability and agility our cutting-edge technology requires to help transform dementia care pathways around the world, and to meet the accelerating demand for telemedicine and remote tools.

Cognetivity is now well-positioned to expand even further to help millions of people worldwide, having a highly effective data management platform that makes its data available and secure, maximising interoperability.”

Case study by InterSystems