Detecting Alzheimer's

What do pilots, divers and pharmaceutical trial participants have in common with people being screened for Alzheimer's disease or other ailments affecting the brain such as strokes? The answer is NeuroGraph™, a portable device that provides an almost instantaneous reading of brain activity and can swiftly detect differences from the norm.

Developed with funding from the Office of Naval Research for reading submarine sonar signals, the device offers enormous commercial potential as a screening device for Alzheimer's disease. NeuroGraph, which received Food and Drug Administration clearance in June, reads brain activity through a cap outfitted with electrodes that immediately analyzes brain activity and compares it to the brain activity of a sample of healthy people. "The software that analyzes brain activity is based on a mathematical model of the cerebral cortex," explains Dr. Thomas McKenna, ONR Program Officer for the project.

In addition to assisting in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, stroke and other head patients with brain disorders, the Office of Naval Research is investigating whether the patented NeuroGraph device could be used for early detection of physiological changes in the brain that can impair the performance of pilots and divers. In addition, pharmaceutical trials could potentially use NeuroGraph to test the efficacy of new drugs on brain activity against drugs already on the market.

NeuroGraph, a product of Newport Beach, Calif.-based Thuris Corp. (www.thuris.com), is a part of current clinical research at major medical research institutions including Yale, Brown, Columbia and the University of California.

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