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article imageCrowdsourcing innovations to tackle Alzheimer’s

By Tim Sandle     Sep 17, 2017 in Science
A group of scientists and advocates have come together to crowdsource a new approach progress leapfrog scientific understanding and to side-step the obstacles for researching Alzheimer’s disease.
The crowdsourcing (the sourcing model whereby individuals use contributions from Internet users to obtain needed services and ideas) is also intended to be call for the global scientific and medical community to push forward with research intended to identify breakthrough new technologies that can assist with brain health. This includes artificial intelligence, bio-technology, precision pharmaceuticals, physics, and video games and brain hacking, each of which has shown some success in the treatment of Alzheimer’s or aided an earlier detection of the neurological diseases. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that affects some 50 million people worldwide. The rate of the disease is expected to accelerate given the ageing global population.
With the focus of the group on treatment and detection, this is with acknowledgement that the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease starts years before symptoms of dementia appear. The group will also focus in establishing a cure. With this aim, the cause of Alzheimer's disease is poorly understood; research suggests that 70 percent of the risk is believed to be genetic with many genes usually involved. However, there are other risk factors including a history of head injuries, depression, or hypertension. Additionally, the disease process is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain.
Commenting on the new approach, Dr. Ken Dychtwald, who is the founder of Age Wave and of the new body, which is called Alzheimer’s Breakthrough, said: “With unprecedented global aging, unless Alzheimer’s disease is stopped—and stopped soon—it will become the health, social and financial sinkhole of the 21st century.”
The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough proposals were conceived by Dr. Dychtwald together with Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, who is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation. XPRIZE is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit humanity.
To date some 100 leading neuroscientists, advocates and exponential technology experts have contributed their ideas and insights to the process. These people have the goal of getting “launched” at the XPRIZE summit in October 2017. XPRIZES are monetary rewards to incentivize three primary goals:
Attract investment from outside the sector that takes new approaches to difficult problems.
Create significant results that are real and meaningful. Competitions have measurable goals, and are created to promote adoption of the innovation.
Cross national and disciplinary boundaries to encourage teams around the world to invest the intellectual and financial capital required to solve difficult challenges.
According to Alzheimer’s News Today, the Alzheimer’s team proposal will compete with four others focused on clean air, cybersecurity, democracy and industrial waste.
More about Alzheimer's disease, Crowdsourcing, Disease, Medical
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