Intelligent Systems for Assessment of Aging Changes (ISSAC)

ISAAC is a unique and collaborative study that is the first large-scale project of its kind to study continuous assessment technologies in community homes.  This five year studyfunded by an NIH Biomedical Research Partnership Grant is a collaborative effort among medical and engineering faculty and academic and industry partners. 

Currently, 164 volunteers ages 70 and above (84 being the average) are followed at five major continuing care residential communities and over 40 individual homes throughout the Portland metro area.  Subjects were recruited through continuing care retirement facilities, senior fairs, churches, flyers and word of mouth in the community.   All participants are reasonably healthy, reside in an apartment or home that has more than one room and have no more than one person living with them.

Upon enrollment subjects received a brand new computer, printer and free internet service for the course of their participation.  All subjects were eligible for a free three-week computer training and free tutoring for three months after their installation.  Motion sensors were affixed to wall and door surfaces in subject's homes to unobtrusively monitor their activity levels.  Data from these motion sensors and their computers are collected and analyzed for changes.  In addition, subjects are contacted every six months and are seen annually.  During annual study visits, subjects receive a battery of neurological and neuropsychological tests, tests of mental functioning such as concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills, and tests of balance. 

We hope to determine if continuous, unobtrusive assessment of physical activity and computer use detects incident memory decline; to develop new ways of detecting motor and cognitive change in these community settings; and to understand how information from these technologies could be used to help elders and to understand how elders and health care professionals view these technologies.

For more information please contact Tracy Zitzelberger at or 503.494.7198.