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Weill Cornell-led consortium awards grant for cognitive impairment technology research

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A consortium led by Weill Cornell Medicine has been awarded a $14.7 million NIH grant for its research center. This research center focuses on new and existing technologies to support older adults with cognitive impairment.

The Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Advancement (CREATE) was originally established in 1999 to enable older people to use and realize the benefits of technology to improve their daily lives.

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“We have matured and have a greater understanding of the collective issues and nature we are dealing with.” Sara Czaja, PhD, M.S.Professor of Gerontology at Weill Cornell Medicine said in a press release: “Technology is increasingly being considered as a solution to the support needs of older people, and more technology products are being marketed to them.”

Create has undergone a facelift of its previous four versions due to its aging and ever-changing technology landscape. CREATE V is a collaborative research involving Florida State University, the University of Miami, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The expansion also includes his three Cornell campuses: Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech, and Cornell Ithaca.

According to the release, CREATE V plans to expand its target population to include older adults with mild cognitive impairment in the study and have them participate in three integrated cross-site studies.

The first study will focus on how virtual reality technology can be used to promote cognitive and social engagement in older adults. The second will focus on using innovative technologies to support adults with mild cognitive impairment and assess further cognitive decline. The final research will focus on developing digital assistant tools to help older adults with cognitive disabilities manage healthcare tasks such as Medicare/Medicaid enrollment.

“Our specific goal is to understand how the power of technology can be harnessed to maintain, support and nurture the emotional, cognitive and physical health of older adults, and ultimately to improve their independence, well-being and quality of life,” said Czaja. “These are complex issues, but very exciting.”