RADAR-AD in a nutshell

RADAR-AD is a European project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

What is the project about?

RADAR-AD is a European project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). RADAR-AD is looking at two very important areas in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), namely functioning and technology.

  • The term “functioning” refers to the activities a person carries out in his/her daily life. RADAR AD, will look at the impact that having Alzheimer’s disease has on a person’s functioning and how the way in which a person functions may change.
  • RADAR-AD is also exploring how existing widely-used technology (e.g. smart phones, smart wristbands/fitness trackers, home-based sensors) could be used to measure the changes in a person’s functioning.

To understand better which changes in functioning are most relevant and how existing technologies could be used to capture such changes, RADAR-AD will conduct research involving 220 people with AD in several European countries.

Why is this work important?

The work of RADAR AD will provide a better understanding of:

  • the changes in functioning at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) which are more relevant to people affected by dementia,
  • how existing technology and devices can help researchers and clinicians to assess and monitor changes in functioning from a very early stage in a more objective and systematic way,
  • how acceptable these technologies are for people affected by AD and which considerations and practical issues should be taken into consideration for them to work.

Terminology about Alzheimer’s disease used in RADAR-AD

Dementia and Alzheimer are different concepts. A person has dementia when there are clear cognitive deficits, which cause the person to be dependent on others in their daily life. Alzheimer is a disease process in the brain, which can cause dementia. Research has shown that these disease processes, called pathology, in AD can be present long before symptoms of dementia appear. This pathology consists of an abnormal build-up of two proteins in the brain, called amyloid and tau. Some people with such Alzheimer pathology (but not everyone) may, at some point, develop Alzheimer’s dementia.  

Based on this, the current understanding of AD includes:

  1. people with Alzheimer pathology but no dementia symptoms (preclinical AD),
  2. people with Alzheimer pathology and some minor cognitive problems but no dementia (Mild Cognitive Impairment/prodromal AD),
  3. people with Alzheimer pathology and symptoms of dementia  (Alzheimer’s dementia).