Detecting Alzheimer's Earlier with the Help of Machine-Learning Algorithm

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Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a noninvasive diagnostic technique for brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). It measures minute changes in blood oxygen levels within the brain over time, giving insight into the local activity of neurons; however, fMRI has not been widely used in clinical diagnosis. Their limited use is due to the fact fMRI data are highly susceptible to noise, and the fMRI data structure is very complicated compared to a traditional x-ray or MRI scan. Scientists from Texas Tech University now report they developed a type of deep-learning algorithm known as a convolutional neural network (CNN) that can differentiate among the fMRI signals of healthy people, people with mild cognitive impairment, and people with AD. Their findings, "Spatiotemporal feature extraction and classification of Alzheimer's disease using deep learning 3D-CNN for fMRI data," is published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and led by Harshit Parmar, doctoral student at Texas Tech University.

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