Sep 24, 2021

New research detects early signs of Alzheimer’s with almost 100% accuracy

Senior man sitting in park

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is often an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, and though it usually has no clear symptoms early on, it can sometimes be identified with brain scans – known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) – even before symptoms appear.

However, identifying MCI with FMRI is both time consuming and expensive.

Now researchers have used deep learning technology – a type of artificial intelligence – that could potentially speed up the process, and they are able to detect MCI with better than 99% accuracy.

The research involved using a deep learning model to classify thousands of images of the brains of 138 subjects with various stages of MCI. The model was able to identify MCI accurately in more than 99% of cases.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating, progressive disease that has no cure.

Approximately 24 million people currently have Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to double every 20 years.

It’s widely accepted that early diagnosis means the patient is more likely to benefit from treatment.

The aim is for the algorithm to be developed into software that could analyse data from vulnerable groups, such as the over 65s, those with a history of brain injury or those with high blood pressure.

The software could be used to pick up anomalies that could enable earlier diagnoses of Alzheimer’s.

The researchers say the algorithm should not be relied upon alone for a diagnosis, but it can provide useful information quickly and affordably, meaning the patient can have a diagnosis and treatment more quickly.

“Of course, we don’t dare to suggest that a medical professional should ever rely on any algorithm 100%”, said Maskeliūnas.

“Think of a machine as a robot capable of doing the most tedious task of sorting the data and searching for features. 

“In this scenario, after the computer algorithm selects potentially affected cases, the specialist can look into them more closely, and at the end, everybody benefits as the diagnosis and the treatment reaches the patient much faster.”

While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, this research is another promising step on the road to better treatments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Banner Banner

Dismissed and Overlooked – Depression and Anxiety Aren’t a Normal Part of Ageing

Mental health issues in older people are often overlooked and dismissed as “just a part of the ageing process”. However, with that attitude, many mental health issues are missed – especially when there is more focus on individual physical wellbeing. This can lead to poor quality of life and increasing ill health for older people.... Read More

Opinion: Yet another fee layer makes aged care more complex

Bina Brown, Director of Third Age Matters, warns Australians to watch out for facilities that could charge $25 a day for “additional” services that you’d expect to be part of the room price. Read More

Immersive sensory experiences a bridge to resident wellbeing 

  We all benefit from having our senses stimulated, and that doesn’t change as we grow older. But for aged care residents, sensory stimulation can become more challenging due to health conditions that restrict mobility and strength, or cognitive impairment, such as dementia, that can affect the senses. Our senses help us navigate the world,... Read More
Banner Banner