Harvard Gazette (May 11, 2017): Probe of Alzheimer’s Follows Paths of Infection

Japan’s rapidly aging society is spurring technological innovation, including the use of a tracking system designed to help families and nursing facilities locate people suffering from dementia when they lose their way or go missing.

As the country with the most aged population, Japan is poised to see its postwar baby-boomer generation — currently the biggest age demographic — form a population stratum aged 75 or older by 2025.

With the help of a smartphone app, thumb-size portable electronic devices developed by Sohgo Security Services, popularly known as ALSOK, that can be placed in pockets, wallets or attached to shoes are expected to help quickly find dementia sufferers who go missing.

The system works using Bluetooth wireless technology — the standard for exchanging data over short distances.

It might be difficult for a resident of a community to notice a person with dementia who is simply wandering the streets.

But if the person is carrying the gadget, dubbed “Mimamori Tag,” and passes a volunteer who has downloaded the free app to their smartphone, the positioning data of the person who has gone missing are automatically sent and stored on ALSOK’s computer servers.


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