The University of Ulster has developed a new sleep pattern monitoring systems which helps to spot disturbances in people with early dementia.
Named PAViS, the system allows carers to analyse a person's sleep patterns so any potential issues can be identified.
Dr Huiru Zheng, lead researcher at the University's Computer Science Research Institute, said that sleep disturbances can be very distressing for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and can often serve as an indicator the disease is developing into dementia.
“PAViS, pattern analysis and visualisation system, circumvents the problems and allows healthcare workers to quickly see shifts in sleep pattern and detect unusual patterns in order to assess the changes in health condition of people with early dementia over the course of weeks and months," she explained.
The system was tested on a small number of people and found that it was relatively easy to determine which patients had normal sleeping patterns and which suffered sleeping "episodes".
Full details of the research project can be found in the March issue of the International Journal of Computers in Healthcare.