note: all donations to the AMVIT project are tax-deductible thanks to the support of the Cancer101 Foundation.
“Boy, that Picture brings back memories!” We hear it all the time, but what if you could use this effect to help people with Alzheimer’s? Well, the science is there, now we have a way to bring it to millions of people who can benefit from it.
My father has early onset Alzheimer’s. There is no situation that has made me feel more helpless than watching my father, a man who I have admired my whole life for his wit and intelligence, lose his ability to simply remember and communicate with me.
More than 5 million Americans know how I am feeling.
There may not be a cure for Alzheimer’s at the moment, BUT there are therapies that can help.
Some Alzheimer’s treatments involve medications and dietary changes, but some focus on the patient’s quality of life.
The goal of any Alzheimer’s therapy is to help the person maintain a better quality of life. This is what I want for my dad, and for all of the people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
So do you just increase the Aricept™ dosage or is there another option?
But there is Hope. Recent Studies, first pointed out to us by the co-Founder and CEO of Everyday Health Mike Keriakos indicated that a new app, similar to one I was making at the time, could help my Dad. Alex Fair, the guy who started this site and the little bro of one of my best friends, and a bunch of other great folks have been helping and now, we are ready to bring this idea to the world!
We have developed and tested a new Alzheimer’s therapy that automates the scientific studies Mike was referring to (see below.) The app and studies were based on the idea that showing familiar music and images can improve recall and significantly improve an Alzheimer’s patient’s quality of life. Even more encouraging is the further hypothesis that such therapy can slow the progression of the disease and stimulate the brain.
The Alzheimer’s Music Video and Image Therapy, or AMVIT, project will allow a patient to view images from the past, preferably their personal past, while listening to music of the era. Music is a powerful emotional queue — late-stage Alzheimer patients have been seen singing lyrics to childhood songs or tapping beats to melodies from their past!
Music can be a form of communication. It can:
Many in the baby boom generation, and their children, will be experiencing the devastating loss of a relationship due to Alzheimer’s. We want to make sure that these relationships are maintained as long as possible. We want to protect a generation from degeneration.
Music is a tool that promotes interactive communication. Rhythm cues are felt in the motor center of our brains, a part of the brain that is intact late into the disease’s progression. Many people associate music with important events and emotions (i.e. a wedding song), helping to create happy and calming feelings. Not only will we be developing music programs based on patient preferences, but we will also link images to the music therapy.
Here is one of the therapy streams I created for my father.
For our program to work correctly for each patient we will need a patient caregiver to:
1. Fill out a brief questionnaire that helps us determine gender, age, birth date, and city most years lived in (particularly locations when the patient was between the ages 18-25).
2. Provide us with photos that are meaningful and happy. If this is not possible relevant period and interest specific images will be generated from the information given. Our algorithm will quickly learn which images are most appreciated.
3. Our website will retrieve that particular person’s musical and pictured past based on the information provided (we recommend using an iPad or other tablet device.)
4. Then, a video/slideshow will be produced using a mixture of these three vital characteristics.
5. The patient can then listen and view the Therapy Stream daily. The videos will alternate thus introducing the patient to a broader spectrum of their past. The videos and songs can be “Liked” so as to keep them in their rotation, and personalized using a particular persons images from their life.
The videos in a person’s cache will alternate over time, slowly introducing the patient to a broader spectrum of their past.
Videos and songs can be “Liked”, in order to keep the ones associated with positive responses in their rotation. They can also be personalized by including images from that person’s past.
Our site will allow individual caregivers, physicians, and assisted living facilities that are frustrated by the lack of results of medications and their side effects, to offer a simple yet effective complimentary therapy to their own efforts. The utilization AMVIT site will allow caretakers, as well as loved ones, to easily get involved and enjoy the process as much as the patient.
Can you just imagine an elderly woman with her husband effectively reminiscing about their younger years together, their childhood, their teen years, their young adulthood, a process that they can share each and every day? These practices are NOT limited to people who still have a loved one in their life.
Institutions such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes will benefit from this as well. A facility will now be able to be able to effectively communicate this therapy to many patients of the same age and demographic together. Imagine a room of people listening to the sounds of Johnny Cash, potentially having conversations sparked by the music.
Many caregivers and/or children of Alzheimer’s patients and any Skilled Nursing Facility (aka Nursing Home) Activities Director knows the value of music therapy for people with memory loss, but now there are scientific studies as well. Several recent studies that have been published showing the efficacy of music therapy in memory-related disease. Depending on the study and the treatment program, music from a patients’ youth has the most positive effect with movement (clapping, swaying, dancing) increasing enjoyment. It has been shown that golden oldies can spark memories, toe-tapping beats can stimulate activity, and easy listening can be soothing. Music is usually associated with important events, with different music activating different emotio witnessed the power of music in other elderly patients.
As you can see from our rewards, we would like to run a pilot study showing the efficacy of our application as well. Organizations, Physicians and SNFs are invited to sign up to be a partner in this effort. MedStartr’s Clinical Review Officer, Theresa Merrill, a professional with more than 18 years designing and reviewing FDA clinical trials and studies, has generously offered to help us design the study. Now all we need is you!
Do you have an application, community, or company that is focused on the Alzheimer’s Disease? Sponsor the Study and we will help you meet your organizational goals with subscriptions to the application, listing you as a partner on all our sites, and by including you in all available partner programs.
The primary of your contributions will be to finish the development of the application. We have raised $5,000 in seed capital previously, enabling the development of a fully functional prototype
Next we will develop a robust application to implement the reporting and playlist promotion algorithm. The AMVIT Application will initially be optimized for full size Macs and PCs, Tablets, and iPads.
Finally, once deployed, we will establsh protocols and collect data for an initial pilot study.
If we raise over $15,000 we will develop the native iPad and iPhone apps (although it looks pretty good on those platforms already!)
If we raise over $20,000 we will be able to publish a study of data collected from at least twenty patients.
Our team currently consists of:
I have known Mike Antonucci since we were kids. Mike was the first one out of high school to start down the entrepreneurial path. He hit it big by publishing books about the past for the older generations. So if you were 18 in 1941, he had a book of headline stories and articles for you. Mike was an inspiration to many of us that took the safer path of going to college. Today, I am very glad to help him get his project off the ground in return for leading on that path so long ago, as is my brother Jon Fair, who has backed the project since day 1 and here as well. (Jon is also known for running The Edge in NYC and being the developer behind the famous Brooklyn Flea among other NYC Landmarks.) Mike Antonucci is the perfect person to do this project. His experience as a caregiver for his Dad, his previous experience curating and packaging historical media, and his entrepreneurial spirit are ideal. Please help him bring this great new clinical intervention we can all implement to market! For further reading, you can also read my blog post about Mike here as well.
Every Little bit helps! You will have our sincere appreciation. We will also post a thank you on our social media sites with a mention of who your donation honors.
TWO MONTH Subscription to AMVIT for your parent, friend, patient, or other loved one as well as our sincere Thanks and Mentions as described above.
SIX MONTH Subscription to AMVIT, our sincere Thanks and Mentions as described above.
ONE YEAR subscription to AMVIT for you and your friend or loved one. This enables you to assemble and curate unlimited playlists of audio, images and video that will help bring back the memories.
FAMILY-PHYSICIAN-PATIENT PACKAGE - The same as above, but includes usage reporting automatically sent to the Physician and three family members of the patient's or family member's choice. Reports show hours of play, interactions per hour, most interacted media, and time outs.
PHYSICIAN PILOT PACKAGE - Be part of our efficacy study and help write our first paper. This package enables your practice to give out five one year subscriptions to AMVIT. AMVIT team members will provide training to your patients and access to data and reports to you and the family members designated.
PHYSICIAN PARTNER PACKAGE - Get involved on a deeper level in the Pilot and help us work on the data, reporting, and the protocols. You will be able to help up to ten patients with one year subscriptions. Your Practice will be listed in our AMVIT Partners with a full profile about your practice and is eligible to be a part of the clinical study.
NURSING HOME/ LTC RESELLER PACKAGE - Give your Nursing, Art, and Activities Directors a great new tool to help your patients suffering from Alzheimer's. This package includes a webinar training session for your team and 200 months of subscriptions for your residents.
SPONSOR THE STUDY - Help us reach our goals of helping as many people suffering from Alzheimer's as fast as can. We will list you or your organization as a Sponsor of the Study on the paper as well as on a number of additional publication locations.
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PARTNER-DISTRIBUTOR - Do you run an online community with many people learning about Alzheimer's? Why not offer access to AMVIT? In return, you will be allowed to distribute 100 copies of AMVIT with our full support.
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