The Memory Resource and Research Centre (CMRR) of the University Hospital in Nice was officially established on December 19, 2002. CMRR is one of the 24 official French Memory Centres merging competency from gerontology, neurology and psychiatry. The CMRR is founded on the following four pillars: (1) care, (2) teaching, (3) research and (4) activation and maintenance of a professional network. The research activities of CMRR involve behavioural and affective (mood) disturbances related to dementia. CMRR in the University Hospital in Nice has an international and national reputation in the research and care of behavioural and psychological disturbances, particularly, the behavioural syndrome of apathy a disorder of motivation.

The Cognition and Behaviour Technology – CoBTeK – unit is part of the Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNSA). The mission of CoBTeK is to use information and communication techniques, inparticular imaging and video processing analytic techniques, to develop new strategies in order to prevent help and assist elderly people, improve diagnostic and treatment for behavioural and cognitive symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and improve autonomy in the elderly.

CoBTeK Mission Statement

I – CoB Tek: A vision for the present and the future

Normal aging, as well as the spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer disease with its accompanying behavioural disturbances, can significantly impact personal autonomy and quality of life.  This has major implications for our society as a whole.  In this context, the utilisation of and help from new technologies are being developed. It is therefore extremely important to develop high-level research into these new technologies, as well as information technology, and to experiment with how they can be adapted to and enhance the lives of the elderly.

The two key aspects of this overall objective are:

  • To create a detailed classification of normal and abnormal behaviours in the context of Alzheimer disease and its spectrum disorders (as an automatic reference for use by the new technologies), and
  •  To undertake experiments with the participants themselves in order to validate this classification of behaviours in the form of Atlas Multimedia or a database accessible to other research teams and medical actors and health-care assistants

In the Alpes-Maritimes, there is already a well-established and dynamic collaboration for Alzheimer disease research between the biological research team (IPMC) and the clinical team (CMRR), namely, the “bench-to-bedside” link. Another important research collaboration/ has been established in the domain of ICT – information and communication technology (TheFrench National Institute for Research in Computers Science & Control and INRIA). However, in contrast, a direct link between such information and communication technology and the clinical setting (CMRR) has not yet been established. Such an interaction is distinct from the biological-clinical link (“bench-to-beside”) and corresponds instead to an entirely different theme, namely, “ICT or computer-to-clinic”.

The establishment of a collaboration between information/communication technology (INRIA) and the Alzheimer disease clinical setting (CMRR) requires integration into the overall context of the technological platforms within the university and hospital structure.

The partnership of INRIA and CMRR, by means of the CoBTek (for Cognition Behaviour Technology) project, is situated within this context and one of its objectives is to foster interdisciplinary teaching within these new research areas.

The time is ripe to harness the skills and competencies of INRIA in collaboration with CMRR in order to establish this database that will serve to improve our understanding of the behavioural pathology of aging people and better evaluate their level of frailty. A second objective is to enable clinical experimentation to take advantage of the expertise in new technologies offered by INRIA and to enable fundamental research to make use of the clinical knowledge of behavioural pathology offered by CMRR.

 

Key Personnel:

Philippe H Robert is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Nice Memory Centre for Care and Research (CMRR). He is also director of the Cognition, Behaviour & Technology Unit (CoBTeK) at the Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis. Prof. Robert completed his medical studies at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in 1981, and received a PhD in Life Sciences in 1996 from the University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. The CoBTeK team will be led by Prof Philippe, an expert in Alzheimer’s Disease and the use of technology to treat dementia and to support independent ageing.

Arnaud Dechamps, PhD, is research coordinator at the CoBTeK team. Dr. Dechamps has coordinated research involving improving independent living for Alzheimer’s patients through learning methods and off-the shelf computer gaming. Also, Dr. Dechamps has coordinated work packages for FP7 projects (Vanquishing fear and apathy through E-inclusion: Personalised and populated Realistic Virtual Environments for clinical, home and mobile platforms – VERVE and Dementia Ambient Care: Multi-Sensing Monitoring for Intelligent Remote Management and Decision Support).

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