A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm can accurately predict and diagnose the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in a patient.
The deep learning algorithm, developed by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, uses a combination of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing to measure cognitive impairment, along with data on age and gender, which helps to accurately predict the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the primary cause of dementia worldwide. One in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia and it is the primary cause of dementia worldwide.
The study has been published in the journal Brain.
Using MRI scans
The researchers used MRI scans of the brain, demographics, and clinical information of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well as ones with normal cognition. They then developed a novel deep learning model to predict Alzheimer’s disease risk, which showed that their model could accurately predict the disease status on the other independent cohorts.
The task of detecting Alzheimer’s disease on the same set of cases was undertaken by an international team of neurologists, with the AI model performing slightly better. They also showed that model-identified regions of high disease risk were highly aligned with autopsy reports of the brains on a few individuals who were deceased.
Expanding the use of neuroimaging data
This study has broad implications for expanding the use of neuroimaging data such as MRI scans to accurately detect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease at the point of care and could be extended to other organs in the body to diagnose other degenerative diseases.
Corresponding author Vijaya Kolachalama, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), said: “If we have accurate tools to predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (such as the one we developed), that are readily available and which can use routinely available data such as a brain MRI scan, then they have the potential to assist clinical practice, especially in memory clinics.
“Not only can we accurately predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but this algorithm can generate interpretable and intuitive visualizations of individual Alzheimer’s disease risk en route to accurate diagnosis.”