Artificial intelligence (AI) could diagnose a suspected dementia patient the day they are assessed. The disease currently has no set test, with medics generally relying on cognitive assessments and brain scans. With it sometimes taking years to reach a diagnosis, scientists from the University of Cambridge are developing an AI system that could spot signs of the disease after a single brain scan. The system is "trained" to compare a suspected patient's brain scan against thousands of confirmed cases, with the algorithm potentially identifying signs of the disease that a neurologist could not spot. Although the technology is still in a trial stage, it could diagnose dementia years before symptoms emerge.
Researchers at Cambridge University in the UK are trialling an artificial intelligence system that they think could spot the signs of dementia after a single brain scan. The team – led by Prof Zoe Kourtzi of the university and Alan Turing Institute – told the BBC that the AI could make it possible to start treatment earlier to slow down progression of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. The technology could be used to spot patients who are likely to have a slow decline in cognition and memory, and those that could have more rapid progression. At the moment, it can take several brain scans and a battery of other cognitive tests to diagnose dementia, a process that can take between four and 12 weeks depending on waiting lists, according to the Alzheimer's Society. The AI has been trained using thousands of brain scans from patients with dementia patients, and uses an algorithm to identify patterns that even expert neurologists cannot see, according to the BBC report.
As supercomputers take on the mighty challenge of accelerating research in the complexities of life sciences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not far behind. Researchers are testing a system based on AI to detect neurological disorders like dementia in just one brain scan. As researchers begin the trial of the system, currently it takes several scans and tests to diagnose dementia. An earlier diagnosis of the disorder could be life-saving and enhance treatment strategies. The team of researchers from the University of Cambridge are hopeful that the AI system will be tested in a "real-world" clinical setting on about 500 patients, in its first year of trial.