When David Graham wakes up in the morning, the flat white box that's Velcroed to the wall of his room in Robbie's Place, an assisted living facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, begins recording his every movement. It knows when he gets out of bed, gets dressed, walks to his window, or goes to the bathroom. It can tell if he's sleeping or has fallen. It does this by using low-power wireless signals to map his gait speed, sleep patterns, location, and even breathing pattern. All that information gets uploaded to the cloud, where machine-learning algorithms find patterns in the thousands of movements he makes every day.
Artificial intelligence is slowly, but surely, showing potential in improving modern healthcare. In the UK, researchers recently used four AI algorithms that beat doctors in predicting heart attacks. Moreover, Google's DeepMind is fighting blindness with machine learning. Lately, medical science is seeing potential in the ability of AI systems to find meaning in datasets that are too complicated for us to process. This potential is perfectly applicable in modern healthcare practices.
Doctors could use artificial intelligence to diagnose dementia more accurately and give better treatment, scientists say. Researchers have invented a computer algorithm which can analyse MRI brain scans and learn how to recognise different types of dementia. They say that although many types of the brain-destroying condition have similar symptoms, they respond differently to treatment. Being able to correctly identify which type someone has means patients could be helped earlier on in their illness or given more targeted therapy. Experts say the research is'pioneering' and has'huge potential' in the future of treating dementia, expected to affect one million Britons by 2025.
Using a common type of brain scan, researchers programmed a machine-learning algorithm to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's disease about six years before a clinical diagnosis is made – potentially giving doctors a chance to intervene with treatment. No cure exists for Alzheimer's disease, but promising drugs have emerged in recent years that can help stem the condition's progression. However, these treatments must be administered early in the course of the disease in order to do any good. This race against the clock has inspired scientists to search for ways to diagnose the condition earlier. "One of the difficulties with Alzheimer's disease is that by the time all the clinical symptoms manifest and we can make a definitive diagnosis, too many neurons have died, making it essentially irreversible," says Jae Ho Sohn, MD, MS, a resident in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at UC San Francisco.
As many as one in five people age 65 or older experience "mild cognitive impairment" -- a condition marked by a slight decline in memory, language, or thought. Affected individuals may be prone to forgetting appointments or losing the thread of conversations. They also have a higher-than-average risk of developing the more pronounced cognitive decline of Alzheimer's disease. Yet for the majority of people, symptoms do not progress. In fact, in some instances, the symptoms can be temporary or reversible.