Health Care

Researchers use artificial intelligence to diagnose Alzheimer's

Researchers use artificial intelligence to diagnose Alzheimer's”

While a full on cure for Alzheimer's has yet to be discovered, researchers are making progress when it comes to early detection.

Scientists at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam have also been using MRI brain scans to try to achieve earlier Alzheimer's diagnoses, the website says, while an AI programme being developed by researchers from several universities in California may soon be able to detect the disease through an eye test. Some made a decision to focus on blood and cerebrospinal fluid tests, while others are developing gadgets that can look for early signs.

The Bari University research team now intends to extend the technique to help with the early diagnosis of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

The researchers fed their machine learning system with a set of 67 MRI scans - 38 of which were from people with Alzheimer's, while 29 were from healthy controls. The researchers divided the scans into small regions to maximize identification, and let the AI analyze the neural connectivity.

That suggests the programme could be used to find the disease "almost a decade before the appearance of clinical symptoms", says International Business Times.

The AI identified 86% of the Alzheimer's scans and 84% of the scans showing mild cognitive impairment.

Following the training, the AI was then asked to process brains from 148 subjects - 52 were healthy, 48 had Alzheimer's disease and 48 had mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but were known to have developed Alzheimer's disease two and a half to nine years later.

"Nowadays, cerebrospinal fluid analyses and brain imaging using radioactive tracers can tell us to what extent the brain is covered with plaques and tangles, and are able to predict relatively accurately who is at high risk of developing Alzheimer's 10 years later", La Rocca said. With more samples and further development, though, the AI could become more accurate until it's reliable enough to be used as a non-invasive early detection system.

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