Design OF A detection system for oro-sensory attributes indicators of food acceptability to contribute to older adults' nutritional well-being with Alzheimer's.
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, increasingly common among older adults, generate adverse factors directly on memory that influence their autonomy to plan their activities, including preparing their food, in addition to affecting sensitivity and the ability to identify aromas and flavors. All this results in a lower food intake, being an ally for poor nutrition. Multiple attempts have been proposed to improve patients’ clinical conditions, based on techniques that stimulate their ability to evoke elements of their cultural identity that, among other strategies, facilitate the acceptability of food. The framework study proposes the use of Colombian gastronomy as an anchor of memory to stimulate a healthy diet, recognizing the patient’s particular identity. The purpose of this Ph.D. proposal is to develop a non-invasive technology that parameterizes and analyzes relevant information on the perception and preference of food applied to the development of specialized menus, in terms of combinations and necessary sensory attributes that contribute to the improvement of nutritional conditions in older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. It will work in three phases of research to achieve a combined technological solution of hardware and software, which identifies key factors in chewing, salivation, perception of flavors, aromas, textures, sounds, and sensations during food consumption. The first stage seeks to design a non-invasive system for measuring oro-sensory preference for texture attributes perceived in the mouth. The proposed technology must, through a set of visual - mechanical - oral - sensory sensors, identify key variables for the chewing process, measure the required forces, the level of saliva generation, mechanical variables that involve the texture of food, and It will be supported by image analysis to identify the sensations during the consumption of food. In the second stage, the design of a technological solution for selecting appropriate ingredients in specialized mixtures is expected through a module that facilitates the combination of nutritionally adequate prepared foods. Finally, for the field validation and analysis of the metadata obtained with the strategies proposed in the previous phases, it is intended that the data taken in a non-invasive way with the designed system is consolidated in the command center, the information of the perception and food appreciation during ingestion through artificial intelligence. The project results will be a prototype of a mechanic, an oral sensory measurement system for establishing the texture perceived in the mouth, and software that will determine the selection of appropriate ingredients in specialized mixtures integrally, and a command center to integrate all the information. The combined technological strategy will apply to patients with neurodegenerative limitations such as Alzheimer’s, creating an appropriate environment to maintain their nutritional status and probably recover aspects of their identity with traditional gastronomy elements.