An ecologically valid, longitudinal, and unbiased assessment of treatment efficacy in alzheimer disease (The Evaluate-ad Trial): Proof-of-concept study

Neil William Douglas Thomas, Zachary Beattie, Jennifer Marcoe, Kirsten Wright, Nicole Sharma, Nora Mattek, Hiroko Dodge, Katherine Wild, Jeffrey Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The current clinical trial assessment methodology relies on a combination of self-report measures, cognitive and physical function tests, and biomarkers. This methodology is limited by recall bias and recency effects in self-reporting and by assessments that are brief, episodic, and clinic based. Continuous monitoring of ecologically valid measures of cognition and daily functioning in the community may provide a more sensitive method to detect subtle, progressive changes in patients with cognitive impairment and dementia. Objective: This study aimed to present an alternative trial approach using a home-based sensing and computing system to detect changes related to common treatments employed in Alzheimer disease (AD). This paper introduces an ongoing study that aims to determine the feasibility of capturing sensor-based data at home and to compare the sensor-based outcomes with conventional outcomes. We describe the methodology used in the assessment protocol and present preliminary results of feasibility measures and examples of data related to medication-taking behavior, activity levels, and sleep. Methods: The EVALUATE-AD (Ecologically Valid, Ambient, Longitudinal and Unbiased Assessment of Treatment Efficacy in Alzheimer s Disease) trial is a longitudinal naturalistic observational cohort study recruiting 30 patients and 30 spouse coresident care partners. Participants are monitored continuously using a home-based sensing and computing system for up to 24 months. Outcome measures of the automated system are compared with conventional clinical outcome measures in AD. Acceptance of the home system and protocol are assessed by rates of dropout and protocol adherence. After completion of the study monitoring period, a composite model using multiple functional outcome measures will be created that represents a behavioral-activity signature of initiating or discontinuing AD-related medications, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, or antidepressants. Results: The home-based sensing and computing system has been well accepted by individuals with cognitive impairment and their care partners. Participants showed good adherence to the completion of a weekly web-based health survey. Daily activity, medication adherence, and total time in bed could be derived from algorithms using data from the sensing and computing system. The mean monitoring time for current participants was 14.6 months. Medication adherence, as measured with an electronic pillbox, was 77% for participants taking AD-related medications. Conclusions: Continuous, home-based assessment provides a novel approach to test the impact of new or existing dementia treatments generating objective, clinically meaningful measures related to cognition and everyday functioning. Combining this approach with the current clinical trial methodology may ultimately reduce trial durations, sample size needs, and reliance on a clinic-based assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere17603
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Clinical trial
  • Health information technology
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Mobile health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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