Agreed, especially it’s design and metrics are done by THE very best people studying AD, so they know what to look for re early signs.
I wonder if something like this new product from one of the Google spinouts would provide for better tracking of the aging cognitive phenotype (with, and without, rapamycin)? I also wonder if there is a sleep phenotype that maps to people’s age - and if we could measure whether our sleep profile is that of an older or younger person. I hope to see this figured out and applied clinically (or via devices) one day…
Born from Alphabet’s “moonshot” division, NextSense aims to sell earbuds that can collect heaps of neural data—and uncover the mysteries of gray matter.
After acting as the scanner-in-chief for the company that invented the eFit, Borodin is now the lead ear spelunker for NextSense, which was born at Google and spun out of Alphabet’s X division. The startup’s focus is brain health—improving sleep, helping patients with epilepsy, and eventually enriching the lives of people with a range of mental conditions. The idea is to use its earbuds to capture an electroencephalogram, a standard tool for assessing brain activity. Just as an ECG tracks the fibrillations of the heart, an EEG is used to diagnose anomalies in brain activity. While some smart watches—Apple, Samsung, Fitbit—offer versions of an ECG and aim to spy on your sleep, collecting neural data has mostly been a can’t-try-this-at-home activity. Until now.
… Levey told Berent that if he could eventually match the quality of a true EEG, he’d be on to something—a sort of Apple Watch for the brain.
In June 2020, Berent learned that X would stop funding the project. So he spun out an independent company. He worked out a deal where X got a stake in the new firm in exchange for the intellectual property. Five people made the jump from X to the startup, including its medical director. The team hired a new head of product who had worked on the Apple Watch. Now called NextSense and touting itself as a platform for brain-health monitoring, the company got $5.3 million in funding…
NextSense has struck up partnerships with universities and drug companies to explore the medical uses of its earbuds. A multinational pharmaceutical firm called Otsuka hopes to use NextSense’s earbuds to assess the efficacy of medication, not only for epilepsy but for depression and other mental health issues.
Presentations by Jonathan Berent, the President of NextSense:
It seems groups are developing brain aging biomarkers and measures, at least for use in research labs. I hope these become widely available in clinical applications at reasonable prices.
Looks like they are still a ways off, tremendous variation. Does the variation in “brain age” in the 20yr old cohort (ie not much brain aging yet) seem anywhere real?
Like in the periphery and blood DNA, different regions of brain tissue have different aging signatures, it’s quite complicated, and conventional MRI captures “structural” stuff, and cannot tell you the state of neuronal decay in say the hippocampus (other than volume, which can already be easily done).
If these tools offer a better (sensitivity, specificity, cost) vs other tools at sniffing out earlier some prodromal phase neurological diseases (eg AD), then could be of significant value.
It could be real.
I had a cousin, mathematical genius (1st class degree from Cambridge), but new nothing about health and wellness - burnt the candle from both ends. If he “bothered” with sleep it would only be for 2 - 3 hours. Boozed a fair bit as well. Dropped dead before his 25th birthday. Autopsy said he had the organs of a 70 year old - it could only be put down to lack of sleep which meant no chance for recuperation so I presume that meant massively accelerated ageing.
With the way kids these days spend most of their time at uni partying it doesn’t surprise me that the 20y.o. have big brain ageing. Hopefully they reverse it somewhat once they mature into sensible adults.