Alzheimer’s Disease Could Be Caught Ahead Of Time, Thanks To New Technology

Alzheimer's disease aggressively deteriorates a person's cognitive ability and memory as they age. It's devastating and debilitating, affecting more than three million Americans every single year and permanently changing the lives of everyone involved.

The disease is often diagnosed when symptoms are already progressing. A newly discovered artificial-intelligence algorithm may be the answer to early diagnosis and intervention, though—years ahead of time.

Brain Scans Might Provide Early Answers

An artificial intelligence algorithm may be able to diagnosis Alzheimer's an entire two years before the disease begins to produce symptoms. A study has shown that this algorithm was able to predict the development of Alzheimer's 84% of the time.

Sulantha Sanjeewa, a computer scientist at Canada's McGill University and main author of the study, believes that this can help determine which patients would benefit from certain medications.

Doctors Can Determine The Most Effective Treatment

By utilizing the algorithm, doctors can choose the best participants for Alzheimer's drug-related trials.

“If you can tell from a group of individuals who is the one that will develop the disease, one can better test new medications that could be capable of preventing the disease,” stated Dr. Pedro Rosa-Neto, co-author of the study and associate professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry.

This program's software helps to better identify the beginning stages of Alzheimer's on a patient's PET scan. This algorithm has been used to evaluate the PET imaging of 200 study subjects.

New Technology In Its Trial Stages

Although this algorithm has shown 84% accuracy in its trial stages, researchers know there is no way to be 100% accurate when diagnosing Alzheimer's. Around 10% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's may actually have a different form of cognitive impairment.

Researchers admit that the test subjects used in the study complained of memory loss, and a study using this algorithm on the general public may yield even more revealing results.