Early prognosis of Alzheimer's dementia is hard. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) typically precedes Alzheimer's dementia, yet only a fraction of MCI individuals will progress to dementia, even when screened using biomarkers. We propose here to identify a subset of individuals who share a common brain signature highly predictive of oncoming dementia. This signature was composed of brain atrophy and functional dysconnectivity and discovered using a machine learning model in patients suffering from dementia. The model recognized the same brain signature in MCI individuals, 90% of which progressed to dementia within three years. This result is a marked improvement on the state-of-the-art in prognostic precision, while the brain signature still identified 47% of all MCI progressors. We thus discovered a sizable MCI subpopulation which represents an excellent recruitment target for clinical trials at the prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease.
WASHINGTON D.C. [USA]: According to a recent study, a new artificial intelligence technology can accurately identify rare genetic disorders using a photograph of a patient's face. Named DeepGestalt, the AI technology outperformed clinicians in identifying a range of syndromes in three trials and could add value in personalised care, CNN reported. The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine. According to the study, eight per cent of the population has disease with key genetic components and many may have recognisable facial features. The study further adds that the technology could identify, for example, Angelman syndrome, a disorder affecting the nervous system with characteristic features such as a wide mouth with widely spaced teeth etc. Speaking about it, Yaron Gurovich, the chief technology officer at FDNA and lead researcher of the study said, "It demonstrates how one can successfully apply state of the art algorithms, such as deep learning, to a challenging field where the available data is small, unbalanced in terms of available patients per condition, and where the need to support a large amount of conditions is great."
For effective treatment of Alzheimer disease (AD), it is important to identify subjects who are most likely to exhibit rapid cognitive decline. Herein, we developed a novel framework based on a deep convolutional neural network which can predict future cognitive decline in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients using flurodeoxyglucose and florbetapir positron emission tomography (PET). The architecture of the network only relies on baseline PET studies of AD and normal subjects as the training dataset. Feature extraction and complicated image preprocessing including nonlinear warping are unnecessary for our approach. Accuracy of prediction (84.2%) for conversion to AD in MCI patients outperformed conventional feature-based quantification approaches. ROC analyses revealed that performance of CNN-based approach was significantly higher than that of the conventional quantification methods (p < 0.05). Output scores of the network were strongly correlated with the longitudinal change in cognitive measurements. These results show the feasibility of deep learning as a tool for predicting disease outcome using brain images.
Prange, Alexander (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)) | Toyama, Takumi (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)) | Sonntag, Daniel (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI))
The past decade has witnessed an increasing interest in the use of virtual coaches in healthcare. This paper describes a virtual coach to provide mindfulness meditation training, and the coaching support necessary to begin a regular practice. The coach is implemented as an embodied conversational character, and provides mindfulness training and coaching support via a web-based application. The coach is represented as a female character, capable of showing a variety of affective and conversational expressions, and interacts with the user via a mixed-initiative, text-based, natural language dialogue. The coach adapts both its facial expressions and the dialogue content to the user’s learning needs and motivational state. Findings from a pilot evaluation study indicate that the coach-based training is more effective in helping users establish a regular practice than self-administered training via written and audio materials. The paper concludes with an analysis of the coach features that contribute to these results, discussion of key challenges in affect-adaptive coaching, and plans for future work.