Algorithms may help doctors stream people onto prevention path sooner.
A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Mallar Chakravarty, a computational neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and his colleagues from the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, designed an algorithm that learns from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics and clinical data. This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.
“At the moment, there are limited ways to treat Alzheimer’s and the best evidence we have is for prevention,” Dr Chakravarty explained.
“Our AI methodology could have significant implications as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ that would help stream people onto the right pathway for treatment.
“For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether.”
The findings used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. The researchers trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients.
They replicated their results within the study on an independently collected sample from the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Ageing.
“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data,” Dr Chakravarty explained.
“It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even further into the future.”
With more data, the scientists would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.
Do you think predicting Alzheimer’s early could be the key to stopping the disease from developing?
Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.
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