Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is tak­ing on Alzheimer’s

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

MORE spe­cific treat­ments for Alzheimer’s could be de­vel­oped us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don (UCL).

Medics have de­vised a new al­go­rithm that can au­to­mat­i­cally spot dif­fer­ent pat­terns of pro­gres­sion in pa­tients suf­fer­ing from a range of de­men­tias, in­clud­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

The al­go­rithm, Sub­type and Stage In­fer­ence - or SuS­taIn – uses MRI scans to show doc­tors what stage the dis­ease has reached and iden­tify whether pa­tients will re­spond bet­ter to cer­tain treat­ments.

Re­searchers said the al­go­rithm was able to iden­tify three sep­a­rate sub­types of Alzheimer’s dis­ease, and said this “sub­typ­ing” would be pos­si­ble very early in the dis­ease process.

“One key rea­son for the fail­ure of drug tri­als in Alzheimer’s dis­ease is the broad mix­ture of very dif­fer­ent pa­tients they test; a treat­ment with a strong ef­fect on a par­tic­u­lar sub­group of pa­tients may show no over­all ef­fect on the full pop­u­la­tion, and so fail the drug trial,” said Pro­fes­sor Daniel Alexan­der at the UCL Cen­tre for Med­i­cal Im­age Com­put­ing.

“This new al­go­rithm has the unique abil­ity to re­veal groups of pa­tients with dif­fer­ent vari­ants of dis­ease.”

The re­searchers are now look­ing for ways to ap­ply the al­go­rithm to other dis­eases, in­clud­ing chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease.

It is be­lieved the al­go­rithm could be used by the NHS within the next few years. The NHS was un­able to con­firm the re­port.

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