Radio Signal Sensing and Signal Processing to Monitor Behavioral Symptoms in Dementia: A Case Study

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Aug;28(8):820-825. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.02.012. Epub 2020 Mar 8.


Objectives: Alzheimer's Disease (AD)-related behavioral symptoms (i.e. agitation and/or pacing) develop in nearly 90% of AD patients. In this N = 1 study, we provide proof-of-concept of detecting changes in movement patterns that may reflect underlying behavioral symptoms using a highly novel radio sensor and identifying environmental triggers.

Methods: The Emerald device is a Wi-Fi-like box without on-body sensors, which emits and processes radio-waves to infer patient movement, spatial location and activity. It was installed for 70 days in the room of patient 'E', exhibiting agitated behaviors.

Results: Daily motion episode aggregation revealed motor activity fluctuation throughout the data collection period which was associated with potential socio-environmental triggers. We did not detect any adverse events attributable to the use of the device.

Conclusion: This N-of-1 study suggests the Emerald device is feasible to use and can potentially yield actionable data regarding behavioral symptom management. No active or potential device risks were encountered.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; dementia, behavior symptoms; radio signal; sensors; signal processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease* / psychology
  • Behavioral Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Behavioral Symptoms / psychology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / psychology
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic* / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Physiologic* / methods
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Psychomotor Agitation* / diagnosis
  • Psychomotor Agitation* / psychology
  • Radio Frequency Identification Device*
  • Remote Sensing Technology* / instrumentation
  • Remote Sensing Technology* / methods