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GPS shoes marketed for Alzheimer's patients: Will they save lives?

gps shoe, smart shoe, dementia, alzheimer's
GTX Corp. GPS shoe GTX Corp.

(CBS) Move over medical ID bracelets. A Los Angeles-based company has developed shoes with a GPS tracking system for dementia sufferers.

PICTURES: Alzheimer's disease: 7 things that raise your risk

GTX Corp. has developed 3,000 pairs which will be sold online and at select retailers by Aetrex Worldwide, the AFP reported. The $300 shoes contain a GPS system in the heel that lets family members track the location of the wearer.

Family members can also establish a safe zone which will set off an alert if a family member steps out of it, Katie Lindendoll, CBS The Early Show's tech expert , said in a segment.

Who can the shoes help?

This shoe could be especially beneficial for people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, according to Dr. Andrew Carle, director of the senior housing administration at George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services, who served as an advisor to the project.

"They might be living in their home but they're confused," Carle told the AFP. "They go for a walk and they can get lost for days." Carle said some studies show up to 60 percent of Alzheimer's sufferers will wander and become lost - and half of those who are not found within 24 hours might die.

This isn't the first device to ensure Alzheimer's patients safety. There are bracelets and pendants that contain address information in case a person wanders, and some are equipped with tracking devices. But sometimes sufferers rip those off since the disease triggers paranoia, so they might dislike the unfamiliar object. Shoes on the other hand might not be so unfamiliar.

Nearly 6 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. By 2050, that number might rise to 21 million.

WebMD has more on Alzheimer's.

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