The bracelet, which integrates a mobile telephone system, intelligent alerts and localisation via satellite (GPS), allows the Alzheimer patients to be located if they are lost or disoriented and also to establish immediate contact with them. "This new mobile localisation system will give peace of mind to the relatives and carer of the patient and, at the same time, prevent the dramatic situations that can occur when the sufferer cannot be located and they do not remember who they are", explained Emilio Marmaneu, the Chairman of CEAFA.
Developed and patented by the Canadian company Medical Intelligence Technologies Inc. whose subsidiary in Spain is Medical Mobile Seguridad, the Columba has been introduced into Spain by Telefónica Móviles España and Eulen Servicios Sociosanitarios, whose networks will support the telephone and mobile data transmission services.
The Columba is based on an intelligent detection and alert programme, a geo-location system using GPS and a GSM/GPRS transceiver that integrates a movistar SIM card. The result is a watch-sized bracelet that allows the Alzheimer sufferer to move around without restricting their liberty. If the wearers of the Columba bracelet leaves their habitual geographic area, which has been previously defined by their relatives or carers, the device automatically sends out an alert to advise those responsible for the patient.
The wearer of the bracelet can be located immediately - through a telephone assistance centre that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year - and the patient can be contacted using the device's hands-free function.
"Three years of research stand behind the technology and efficiency of Columba, which has enjoyed great success in France and is now being introduced into Spain in order to make life easier for sufferers and carers alike. In Medical Mobile we are confident that our efforts will give more security to Alzheimer's sufferers and greater peace of mind to those who surround them", stated Louis Massicotte, President and Founder of Medical Mobile Seguridad and the creator of the bracelet.
"The Columba is a clear example of the huge potential that GPS and mobile phone technologies have to offer in the creation of new services aimed at people who suffer from spatial and temporal orientation and cognition problems", stated Doctor Juan Manuel Martínez Gómez, General Director of Eulen Servicios Sociosanitarios.
"In Telefónica we have spent many years developing applications related to health and telemedicine issues and collaborating with leading companies in our desire to improve the quality of life for everyone, especially those who suffer from some form of disability. Thanks to the mobile phone, this objective is now easier to achieve. We are delighted to have the possibility of collaborating in this ground-breaking project with partners like Medical Mobile, Eulen and CEAFA", added Rafael de Sádaba, the Sectorial Relations and Social Development Director of Telefónica España.
Alzheimer's disease not only affects the patient, it changes the life of the entire family, especially that of the principal carer, for many long and difficult years. When the Alzheimer sufferer begins to lose their capacity to recognise their family environment or to forget their name and address, episodes of wandering off and disorientation become a reality and bring with them daily anxiety for all those who care for the patient.
In order to prevent the patient from getting lost, those who care for them may even stop going out themselves, which makes it difficult to lead a normal social life. The Columba bracelet offers an alternative solution. More news on the Columba bracelet can be found in the VMW July 2006 article Medical Intelligence signs LOI with SEUR Pharma to distribute its Columba bracelet in Spain.