The FRONTlab researchers at the ICM work on the mental functions developed by the frontal lobes. In the FRONTlab, I am involved in the development of the ECOCAPTURE project, the main objective of which is the objective evaluation of apathy in an ecological situation using a multimodal system based on video and sensors. I am responsible for the development of an ethological and ecological approach to behavioural neurology and methods for the diagnosis and characterisation of neuropsychiatric disorders using video and sensors (Behavioral sensing).
Apathy is the most common behavioural syndrome affecting the central nervous system. It is present in many neurological or psychiatric diseases. However, apathy remains poorly understood in terms of concept (its definition is subject to debate), pathophysiology (the mechanisms and neural bases are poorly elucidated) and assessment (it is based on questionnaires that are not very specific and subjective). The definition of apathy has long been based on the idea
that apathy is a loss of motivation. In clinical practice, however, apathy is considered when a reduction in behaviour is observed. Apathy can be considered as a quantitative reduction of voluntary behaviour directed towards a goal. This definition opens a different window to the
This definition opens a different window on the pathophysiology of apathy, but also on its assessment and management of patients. Apathy presents itself in different forms, relating to dysfunction at different levels of the generation of goal-directed behaviour: elaboration, initiation, execution and control of behaviour.
The ECOCAPTURE research programme and the development of the method address the following questions
- Identifying a behavioural signature of apathy
- Objectively quantify apathy in neurological and psychiatric pathologies
- Implementing a therapeutic monitoring system at home
In order to answer these questions, the programme is divided into two phases:
- ECOCAPTURE@LAB, whose objective is to explore the behavioural markers of apathy in a situation close to real life, and to develop a diagnostic tool, identifying the different forms or mechanisms of apathy through a behavioural signature.
- ECOCAPTURE@HOME, whose objective is to remotely measure the behavioural markers of apathy in a real-life context. The evaluation focuses on the dyad, consisting of the patient and his/her caregiver, and seeks to establish the consequences of apathy on the patient's state of health and the caregiver's quality of life.
In 2021, the ECOCOCAPTURE@LAB programme was applied to the study of apathy in patients with frontotemporal dementia of the behavioural type, as well as to a group of patients with depression. Our aim is to apply this method to other neurological and psychiatric pathologies.
The ECOCAPTURE@HOME project focuses on markers of apathy at home associated with the health status of the patient-caregiver dyad. This study should thus lead to the creation of a home telemetry system that will make it possible to remotely monitor changes in the health status of the patient-caregiver dyad (patient apathy and the resulting quality of life of the caregiver) based on the regular measurement of identified behavioural markers. Furthermore, this will lay the foundations for a new individualised therapeutic approach, specifically targeting these markers of apathy at home.
The ECOCAPTURE@HOME project focuses on the following two questions:
1/ how to measure remotely supposed behavioural markers of apathy?
2/ is it possible to predict the psychological health status of the patient-caregiver dyad from the measurement of these behavioural markers?
In the case of our study, we assume that measurements of the behavioural signature of apathy extracted from the sensor system worn by the patient-caregiver pair will allow us to answer these questions in part.
Finally, we would like to be at the initiative of an open data initiative - ECOCAPTURE OPEN DATA INITIATIVE - concerning the sharing of behavioural metrics from videos and sensors (Behavioral Sensing).
Behavioral tracking analysis tools, biomedical informatics.
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