Informatics Research Seminar: Human-Computer Interaction Markers: Using Technology Interactions to Monitor Cognitive Function

January 20 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Lisa Vizer, PhD
Presented from UNC-CH

Broadcast Link: Seminar




Many of us are affected by our own age-related cognitive decline or that of loved ones. Such cognitive decline can jeopardize personal freedom and decrease quality of life. The American College of Physicians estimates that 22 percent of people over age 70 have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and that 12 percent of that population converts to dementia each year. Periodic assessment of cognitive function is key to the care of individuals diagnosed with or at risk for any type of cognitive decline, and the need takes on more urgency as the population ages at an unprecedented rate. Of particular interest is how to detect symptoms of early cognitive impairment, a stage known as PreMCI, so that patients and clinicians can make appropriate management decisions and introduce interventions. However, current assessment solutions present barriers to implementing early, continuous, proactive monitoring in a home setting. We propose using attributes of keyboard interactions to monitor for signs of early cognitive decline by unobtrusively leveraging the text typing activities in which people already engage. Using a statistical model of keystroke and linguistic features, a novel assessment approach leverages ordinary text-typing activities to monitor for signs of early cognitive decline in older adults. Early detection could allow for appropriate interventions and effective treatment.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Lisa M. Vizer’s research involves supporting patients outside of the clinic using actively and passively collected data. She has researched management of chronic illness and a variety of brain conditions including mild cognitive impairment in older adults, cognitive stress, cognitive side effects of cancer therapy, concussion, and more serious forms of age-related cognitive decline. Dr. Vizer earned both a BS degree in Computer Science and a MHCI degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1998. After spending several years working in industry for IBM and other companies, she returned to school to pursue a PhD in Information Systems, granted in 2013. Her PhD career was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. After graduation, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, funded by a National Library of Medicine Biomedical and Health Informatics Training Grant. Now a Research Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the School of Medicine, Dr. Vizer is a member of AMIA, ACM, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi.


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