Artificial Intelligence May Be Able To Identify Dementia With Single Scan
Scientists are currently testing an artificial intelligence (AI) system that may be able to detect dementia after just one brain scan.
This system may also be capable of predicting whether or not a person’s condition will remain stable for a number of years, and whether they will experience a slow deterioration or require immediate treatment.
At the time of writing, it may take several scans and tests before a dementia diagnosis is given, and it’s believed earlier diagnoses could significantly improve patient outcomes.
Professor Zoe Kourtzi from Cambridge University, who is a fellow at the national centre for AI and data science The Alan Turing Institute, told BBC News:
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. And it’s likely that symptoms occur much later in life or may never occur.
Meanwhile, consultant neurologist Dr Tim Rittman, who is leading this study alongside Cambridge University neuroscientists has hailed the system as a ‘fantastic development’:
These set of 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.
The system compares brain scans of people worried they may have dementia with scans from thousands of dementia patients plus their relevant medical records.
Patterns can then be observed in the AI scans, which even expert neurologists might not be able to see, these are then matched accordingly to patient outcomes in the database.
It has previously been possible to offer a diagnosis in pre-clinical trials, years before the development of any symptoms. This is true even when no obvious signs of damage can be detected on the brain scan.
The trial, which was conducted at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and other memory clinics across the UK, will now test whether this system could work in a clinical setting, used alongside conventional diagnostic methods. An approximate 500 patients are expected to participate in the first year alone.
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