FRESH DATA: AI Can Help Improve Alzheimer’s Diagnosis


UK study reveals that Artificial Intelligence can help healthcare providers diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier and improve patient prognosis.

Because lifespans have increased, medical experts anticipate that people diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s will rise to 115 million by 2050. This number of cases will challenge a health system already struggling to treat and support these patients.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield’s Neuroscience Institute are studying how to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to reduce the time and costs associated with treating these diseases.

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AI’s Potential for Improving Patient Prognoses

A study on the applications of machine learning to diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases shows promise, says University of Sheffield’s Monika Myszczynska. “We examined how to use machine learning methods to identify the best course of treatment for patients based on their disease progression or how it could be used to identify new therapeutic targets and drugs,” she says.

The study focuses on how doctors could use AI technologies like machine learning to detect neurodegenerative disorders before symptoms worsen. Earlier detection increases the chance that patients will benefit from treatments designed to slow the disease progression and reduce its symptoms’ severity.

Those with mobility or speech issues benefit from AI, too. The technology can enable patients to communicate their symptoms to their healthcare providers without having to leave home.

ML Algorithms Offer Flexibility

Doctors may soon rely more on machine learning algorithms to help with diagnosing patients sooner. These algorithms can guide medical teams to develop the best treatment options for each patient by:

  • Detecting changes in medical images, speech recordings, patient movement data, and footage
  • Evaluating patient speech and assess cognitive function by analyzing vocabulary and other semantic data
  • Accessing data in electronic health records/ genetic profiles

“Most neurodegenerative diseases still do not have a cure and in many cases are diagnosed late due to their molecular complexity. Widespread implementation of AI technologies can help, for example, predict which patients showing mild cognitive impairment will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, or how severely their motor skills will decline over time,” said lead author of the study, Dr. Laura Ferraiuolo from University of Sheffield.

Sue Walsh

About Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh is News Writer for RTInsights, and a freelance writer and social media manager living in New York City. Her specialties include tech, security and e-commerce. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlfridaygeek.

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