Story at a glance

  • Scientists are testing an artificial intelligence (AI) system they believe might be able to diagnose with one scan.
  • It typically takes multiple scans to adequately evaluate the particular state of a patient’s condition.
  • The system is based on an algorithm designed to compare a patient’s brain scan with thousands of other dementia patients.

Scientists are testing an artificial intelligence (AI) system they believe might be able to diagnose dementia early and the rate by which one’s condition will deteriorate — all with one scan. 

Researchers told the BBC that the revolutionary method could improve a patient’s prognosis, as it typically takes multiple scans to adequately evaluate the particular state of a patient’s condition.

"If we intervene early, the treatments can kick in early and slow down the progression of the disease and at the same time avoid more damage," professor Zoe Kourtzi, of Cambridge University and a fellow of national center for AI and data science The Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.

"And it's likely that symptoms occur much later in life or may never occur," added Kourtzi, whose system is based on an algorithm designed to compare a patient’s brain scan with thousands of other dementia patients. 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

EATING MORE COLORFUL FOODS MAY REDUCE RISK OF COGNITIVE DECLINE

STUDY SUGGESTS THIS GAME COULD DELAY THE PROGRESSION OF DEMENTIA

EARNING A BACHELOR’S DEGREE COULD ADD AN AVERAGE OF THREE YEARS ONTO YOUR LIFE, STUDY FINDS

4 OUT OF 10 AMERICAN DEATHS LAST YEAR COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED SAYS A NEW ANALYSIS

A LOVE LETTER TO MALE CAREGIVERS: JUSTIN BALDONI DISCUSSES THE CAREGIVING CRISIS


Pre-clinical testing has shown the system’s ability to diagnose the disease, and further testing, which is expected to draw 500 participants, will be conducted at the clinical level, according to the BBC.  

Tim Rittman, who is leading the study with a group of neuroscientists from Cambridge University, called the innovative AI testing a “fantastic development” as these particular diseases “are really devastating for people.” 

"So when I am delivering this information to a patient, anything I can do to be more confident about the diagnosis, to give them more information about the likely progression of the disease to help them plan their lives is a great thing to be able to do," Rittman said. 


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


But some experts, including Clive Ballard, a dementia expert at the University of Exeter, urged caution when analyzing a patient’s prognosis on a single AI scan. 

“AI has been shown to improve the diagnostic potential of brain scans compared to clinical reading of the scans, but there is so much heterogeneity between individuals that it is completely infeasible for a single scan, biomarker or clinical test to be that certain in a single assessment,” he told The Guardian.

“This approach is definitely a positive direction of travel that will lead to improvements in diagnosis, but we need to be really careful not to create false expectations,” he concluded.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA


117 YEAR OLD BEATS COVID-19 JUST BEFORE HER BIRTHDAY

LIFE EXPECTANCY IN US PLUNGES IN MOST DRAMATIC FALL SINCE WWII

DRUG REPORTEDLY REVERSES AGE-RELATED MENTAL DECLINE IN MICE WITHIN DAYS OF FIRST DOSE

YOUR YOGA TOP COULD SOON MEASURE HOW WELL YOU ARE MOVING

MICROGRAVITY IN SPACE WEAKENS OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS: STUDY

RESEARCHERS ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO COMPUTERS THAT CAN TEACH US ABOUT OURSELVES

Published on Aug 10, 2021