The problem with diagnosing Alzheimer's
and other forms of dementia is that by the time someone presents symptoms, it is generally rather late in the game. Looking for a way to detect the affliction earlier on, researchers at the University of South Florida have developed a wireless network for use by senior living centers. Utilizing a series of receivers placed strategically around the building and RFID transponders worn on the wrists of patients, the system monitors people's walking patterns, looking for actions characteristic of cognitive decline -- including a tendency to wander, to veer suddenly, or to pause repeatedly. So far the study has found a statistical relationship between abnormal walking patterns and people for whom testing indicated dementia. The next step is to take that data and look for ways to predict the disease. Good luck, kids -- and hurry up. We ain't getting any younger 'round here.