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New software could be boon for memory care

March 18, 2013

Many seniors with cognitive disabilities require the use of memory care, and a new development in medical record keeping may help improve the treatment and attention they receive. Designed by the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research, the software makes it easier for healthcare providers to track the brain development of elderly patients.

The results of a recent test of the software were published in the online publication eGEMs. Known as Electronic Medical Record Aging Brain Care Software (eMR-ABC), the program closely monitors behavioral, cognitive and functional changes in the brains of patients with dementia or depression. By providing this information, eMR-ABC makes it easier for patients' family members and memory care providers to devise a more personalized treatment plan. Experts say that such tools will prove to be particularly useful in the coming years.

"The number of older adults is growing rapidly. Delivering personalized care to this population is difficult and requires the ability to track a large number of mental and physical indicators," said senior author Malaz Boustani. "The software we have developed will help care coordinators measure the many needs of patients and their loved ones and monitor the effectiveness of individualized care plans."

Innovative software is just the latest in a series of potential breakthroughs in the treatment of Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders. Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration loosened its requirements for approving Alzheimer's drugs. Specifically, the agency announced that potential drugs will only have to show a small improvement in mental function and memory to earn approval, a substantial change from previous guidelines that required treatments so show a long-lasting impact, The New York Times reports.