Weill Cornell Medicine-led consortium wins $14 million grant to study emerging technologies for aging adults

A consortium led by Weill Cornell Medicine has received a five-year, $14.7 million renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging for a research center focused on using emerging and existing technologies to help to promote the well-being, quality of life and independence of diverse populations of older adults and to provide support for older adults with cognitive impairment.

Originally funded in 1999, the goal of the Center for Research and Education in Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) is to ensure that older adults can use and realize the benefits of technology to improve daily life. Through the four previous versions of CREATE, the landscape of aging and technology has changed dramatically.

We have matured and have a better understanding of the issues and the nature of the populations with whom we work. Technology is increasingly seen as a solution to the support needs of aging adults, and more technology products are being marketed to older adults.”

Dr. Sara Czaja, Senior Principal Investigator, Professor of Gerontology in Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

Like previous versions of CREATE, CREATE V is a collaboration with Florida State University, the University of Miami, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its expanded footprint now also includes researchers from three Cornell campuses: Weill Cornell Medicine, including those with appointments in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, the departments of Neurology and Population Health Sciences, and Technologies and information services; as well as Cornell Tech and Cornell Ithaca.

Given that age is an important risk factor for cognitive impairments such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease/Alzheimer’s disease-related dementia, CREATE V will expand its target populations to include older people with MCI and will involve three integrated cross-site projects. With a focus on improving cognitive health, social engagement and preventing cognitive impairment, the first study will examine how virtual reality technology can be used to support cognitive and social engagement in aging adults .

“The large, multi-site study is unique because it will involve older people using virtual reality in their home environment,” Dr. Czaja said. This will be one of the largest randomized controlled trials of virtual reality at home.

The second CREATE V project will focus on supporting adults with MCI, using innovative technologies to assess subsequent cognitive decline, such as conversion to Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. “We will collaborate with the IBM Watson Research Center to develop a speech analytics software support tool that will engage older adults in storytelling,” Dr. Czaja said. The purpose of the tool will be to help detect changes in cognitive status.

The third research project will focus on developing digital assistive tools to help older adults with cognitive impairment manage health tasks, such as Medicare/Medicaid enrollment.

The three large-scale research projects will be conducted at sites in New York, Florida and Illinois to collect data on a variety of characteristics of a diverse population of older adults. CREATE V will also include an expanded pilot research program to support new researchers and researchers.

To improve the collective understanding of aging adults and technological interactions, Dr. Czaja and his team hope to widely disseminate the results, protocols and tools of CREATE V to a global audience, including the research, business and development communities. design.

“Our specific goals are to understand how we can harness the power of technology to maintain, support and promote the emotional, cognitive and physical health of aging adults, to ultimately improve their independence, well-being and quality of life. “, said Dr. Czaja. “These are complex questions, but it’s very exciting.”


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