Start of the RADAR-AD tier 2 study – technologies installed in participants’ homes

The RADAR-AD sub-study (tier 2) is a multicentre, observational digital assessment study among participants with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) due to AD and mild-to-moderate AD. The aim of the tier 2 study is similar to the aim of the main RADAR-AD study (tier 1) – to find and validate remote monitoring technologies (RMTs) which detect differences in daily life functioning in all stages of AD. The major difference between the two RADAR-AD tiers are the type of RMTs used. Whereas the main RADAR-AD study focusses on the use of wearables and smartphone applications, the tier 2 study employs fixed sensors, to be placed in RADAR-AD participants’ homes.

The preparations for the RADAR-AD tier 2 study are in full swing. The first participant inclusion took place in the beginning of September 2021. In total 40 RADAR-AD main study participants from the clinical sites in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), London (UK), Oxford (UK) and Stavanger (Norway) will be approached to also participate in the RADAR-AD tier 2 study.

Marijn Muurling, PhD student at the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam (Amsterdam UMC) comments: “By using the RADAR-AD tier 2 devices, we hope to capture the change of activities or activity patterns of a household when one person in that household is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, we focus more on differences in sleep and driving behavior. The advantage of the tier 2 devices over the tier 1 devices is that the sensors measure passively: no active involvement of the participant is needed and the participants don’t need to wear wristbands during the day.”

RMTs used in the RADAR-AD tier 2 study

  • Fibaro sensors: motion sensors, door sensors and wall plugs. The motion sensors detect movement in the room and measure temperature and light. The door sensors detect if a door opens and closes. The wall plugs measure if an electronic device, such as a lamp or kitchen device, is being used. With this data, researchers can put together an activity profile of a household. The advantage of using these devices is that RADAR-AD participants don’t need to wear any devices and the data is being collected passively. Therefore, there is no need for active involvement on part of the participants.
  • DREEM headband: The Dreem headband is a dry-EEG system. EEG stands for ElectroEncephaloGraphy, which means that it measures brain activity with the help of electrodes on the scalp. The Dreem headband collects information about the participants’ brain activity, breathing, movements, and heart rate during sleep. RADAR-AD participants will wear the headband each night for 4 weeks. With this data, researchers can put together a detailed sleep profile of the participants. The advantage of using this device is that participants can wear it multiple consecutive nights whilst sleeping in their own home and it still collects very detailed sleep information.
  • CANedge device: The CANedge device is installed in participants’ cars, in case they have a car and drive it regularly. The device collects information about driving behaviour, such as driving speed, distance travelled, throttle position, engine speed and fuel level. By collecting this data, researchers can put together a driving behaviour profile of RADAR-AD participants.

RMT devices used in the RADAR-AD Tier 2 study

For RADAR-AD tier 2 participants the study starts with a house visit by RADAR-AD researchers. The researchers will install the Fibaro sensors in their homes and explain the use of the other devices. After 4 weeks RADAR-AD researchers will visit the tier 2 study participants once again and de-install the devices.

RMTs and schedule of the RADAR-AD tier 2 study