Singapore, September 21, 2021 – Farrer Park Hospital today announced that the Hospital has enhanced its dementia services to offer an artificial intelligence (AI)-supported MRI screening tool for dementia.
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs due to abnormal brain changes. According to HealthHub1, about one in 10 (amongst the elderly aged 60 years and above) adults suffers from dementia. An estimated 82,000 people lived with dementia in 2018, and the number is expected to increase to 152,000 by 2030 as the population ages. FPH recognizes the growing need to build a dementia-friendly ecosystem and the expansion of services and collaboration seeks to address this.
Currently, the approach used to diagnose dementia involves combining the data from several components that include medical examination, tests of mental ability, laboratory results and brain scans.
MRI brain scan is the most common tool used to peer into an individual’s brain. However, its function in detecting dementia is limiting; often resulting to just diagnosing strokes and brain tumors. To provide patients with more comprehensive results, FPH is introducing an AI-supported MRI volumetry screening tool to quantify brain tissue volume.
Touching on the screening tool newly introduced to the Hospital, FPH’s Consultant Neuroradiologist and Neurointerventionalist Dr. Santhosh Raj said: “Using AI to quantify brain tissue volume in regular MRI brain scans, physicians, patients and caregivers can now gain additional disease-specific information to improve diagnosis and care plans. Another advantage of quantifying brain tissue volume in MRI scans is that it can also help assess care plans and medication effectiveness.”
The enhanced neuroimaging services will start from September 21, 2021. People suspected of dementia or memory loss symptoms who have already performed an MRI scan recently or within a year may consider undergoing the brain tissue volume quantification without the full MRI brain scan. The additional information obtained can be helpful in their clinical follow up and assessment.
Envisioning a shared care model between neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and geriatricians, the Hospital will be integrating primary care providers such as general practitioners (GPs) into the framework.
GPs are often the first touch point of a patient’s healthcare journey and they know the latter’s medical history best. Hospitals can better manage inpatient or specialist care needs when supported by these information obtained at the primary care level. The enhanced dementia services by the Hospital would equip affiliated GPs with relevant resources such as enhanced clinical diagnostic tools and specialists’ support; allowing them to better assess patients’ cognitive health more accurately, and advise on management plans accordingly.
Memory problems such as forgetfulness, do not necessarily mean dementia. After an initial assessment, if the GP notes that the patient displays symptoms of dementia that require a specialist's intervention, he or she has a referral pathway to the Hospital’s panel of specialists in the framework for further diagnoses or monitoring. After this stage, the patients would then subsequently be discharged back to their primary care providers for ongoing care management.
Besides primary care providers, another key partner of the Hospital’s holistic framework is Dementia Singapore. The Hospital will tap into its domain knowledge to provide psychosocial support, training and awareness activities for its referred patients and caregivers. In addition, the Hospital also plans to partner with Dementia Singapore’s pioneering dementia membership programme which provides easy access for those impacted by dementia to an ecosystem of solutions through a mobile application.
"Dementia affects patients in more ways than we think. Often, the diagnosis remains elusive in the early stages. Thus, enhancing the tools that we have brings us a step closer to making the right diagnosis. With an earlier diagnosis, one can institute earlier treatment, interventions and also plan for the future. It will also help caregivers understand their patients better, thus improving the caregiver-patient relationship and reducing caregiver burnout,” said Dr. Peng Chung Mien, Chief Executive Officer of FPH.
1 Let's talk about vascular dementia. HealthHub. (n.d.) Retrieved from: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/74/understanding-dementia
About Farrer Park Hospital
Farrer Park Hospital is the latest private tertiary acute care hospital in Singapore. The facility includes Farrer Park Medical Centre with specialist clinics, medical technology, nuclear medicine and radiology services to support a wide range of surgical specialties in oncology, orthopaedic, gastroenterology and cardiology. Designed by healthcare professionals and conveniently built above an underground train station, the hospital is a carefully created environment to enable modern yet holistic care for all its patients.
The hospital shares numerous calming gardens and inspiring art works with its related hotel, One Farrer Hotel. Synergies between the hospital and hotel provide families and visitors with enhanced experiences in food and beverage, choices of accommodation, lifestyle programs and conference facilities. Farrer Park Hospital and One Farrer Hotel are part of The Farrer Park Company Pte Ltd, a Singapore based company.
For more information, please visit www.farrerpark.com.
About Dementia Singapore
Dementia Singapore was formed in 1990 as “Alzheimer's Disease Association” to better serve Singapore's growing dementia community, increase awareness about dementia and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition. As Singapore's leading Social Service Agency in specialised dementia care, Dementia Singapore aims to advocate for the needs of people living with dementia and their families; empower the community through capability-building, knowledge, and consultancy; and deliver quality, person-centred care innovations.
For more information, visit: https://dementia.org.sg
Farrer Park Hospital