From past few years, researchers have seen a significant rise in deaths due to neurological disorders. Alzheimer alone is the reason for more than 85,000 deaths in the US every year.
A research published in 2007 revealed that more than 1 billion people were suffering neurological or brain disorders – nearly 1/6th population on Earth.
Being difficult to detect in early stages have resulted in high mortality rate in brain disorder patients. It’s extremely hard to monitor brain health without going through expensive tests or multiple doctor visits.
This is why a patient comes to know of neurological diseases like Dementia, Epilepsy, etc., only at the later stage where it has already become severe.
Not just the disease detection but, in the case of neurological disorders, it is extremely hard to pinpoint what prescriptions work better than others on different patients. Does exercise have better effects on patients than prescribed drugs? Is changing diet plan affecting patient’s health in any way?
Now to change the problem of detection, NeuraMetrix, a California-based neurological research company, has developed a unique way to detect and monitor brain health using ‘typing cadence’.
This came to our attention while going through recent research efforts to detect and monitor brain health in adults. We stumbled upon NeuraMetrix’s patent on “continuous monitoring of central nervous system”.
NeuraMetrix has a promising solution for early detection, monitoring and analyzing brain health in individuals without any doctor visits, special equipment or other tests.
The company has developed an application that can actively and accurately analyze your typing cadence and keep you updated about your brain stats via your computer.
Blood test measures are typically not affected by changes in cognition. The cognitive tests that may be used produce data which does not have the superior specificity these diseases require. The remaining test, Finger Tapping is analogous, but can only produce limited data.
— Excerpt from the background section of patent.
How typing cadence help detects neurodegenerative diseases?
You might be familiar with Keystroke dynamics. Every person has his/her own way of typing which can be distinguished easily using computer algorithms.
How fast they type, how long they keep a key pressed, their rhythms of keystrokes, average delay between words, and several hundred other factors can help in pinpointing a user’s identity and his cognitive and motor functions.
Researchers at NeuraMetrix have developed a system that can use same factors in order to measure even minute changes in a person’s brain health and neurological condition. Below is how NeuraMetrix describes its working:
Below is how NeuraMetrix describes its working:
NeuraMetrix TC measures the “inconsistency” in typing cadence, a potential indication of onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, by measuring and analyzing more than 2,000 variables.
Typing cadence is one of the strongest habits we have, effectively hardwired in our brains. When a disease or disorder attacks the brain, the hardwiring begins to break down slowly and in very small increments.
Our technology can pick up very small changes in typing cadence – a change of 1/100 of a second can be statistically significant. Thus, we can detect changes in the brain long before the person would notice any adverse effects.
NeuraMetrix TC is sensitive enough to detect very early changes in cognitive and motor function and measure decline/progress over time. It is passive, independent of language, culture, and education and does not require tests, sensors, gross motor skills or physician interaction.
The NeuraMetrix Typing Cadence keep your typing patterns synced with cloud where various machine learning powered algorithms analyze the data using thousands of variables.
Is this been tested? How effective is this tool?
NM partnered with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, a research foundation dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson. Upon monitoring 121 subjects for 90 days and collecting more than 60 million data points, NeuraMetrix was able to accurately differentiate between patients from healthy ones.
Their tool was also able to categorize patients based on their consistency; whether it was under control or not, or was it getting worse.
The company is also involved in research partnerships with multiple universities and institutes across the globe.
The scope of Typing Cadence is not limited to brain health monitoring but, it can also help in predictions of other neurological behaviors as well such as depression, ADHD, REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, and even brain tumor.
NeuraMetrix’s Typing Cadence is currently in its final testing and they are planning to publically release it in upcoming months, mentions their website.
On an unrelated topic, their software will also be able to distinguish you from others based on your typing patterns and thus, you can also use it for authentication purpose.
No need to remember a password or pattern, just type few random words and your computer will be able to authenticate you easily.