In Brief

AI can detect Alzheimer’s a decade before symptoms show

The programme could help patients receive medication early to manage the disease

Researchers have created an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that can detect signs of Alzheimer’s disease up to ten years before symptoms appear. 

Developed by a team at the University of Bari, in Italy, the computer system scans the brain for “tiny structural changes” that indicate the early stages of the disease, reports Engadget.  

The AI was fed 38 MRI scans from Alzheimer’s patients, and 29 from healthy patients, the website says, to help it learn common patterns in neurological activity and the symptoms of the disease. 

Researchers then used the programme to “process brain scans from 148 subjects”. The AI was able to correctly detect Alzheimer’s, with a success rate of 86% - and it could also identify “mild cognitive impairment” 84% of the time.

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

Although there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, early diagnosis and treatment can slow down the progression of the disease. 

This isn’t the first study that involves using “cutting-edge technology to help diagnose Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases”, reports Digital Trends

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. 

Sign up for The WeekDay email, your twice-daily digest of news and comment

Recommended

Deborah James: tireless cancer campaigner dies aged 40
Deborah James
Profile

Deborah James: tireless cancer campaigner dies aged 40

The countries where abortion is illegal
US abortion-rights activists march toward the White House
In Depth

The countries where abortion is illegal

How the world reacted to US Supreme Court’s abortion ruling
Protesters descend on the US Supreme Court
Global lens

How the world reacted to US Supreme Court’s abortion ruling

Are we facing a brain fog epidemic?
Rise in brain fog cases linked to long Covid
Getting to grips with . . .

Are we facing a brain fog epidemic?

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

When will paper £20 and £50 notes expire?
Paper banknotes
Business Briefing

When will paper £20 and £50 notes expire?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 June 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 June 2022

The Week Footer Banner