Scientists are testing an artificial intelligence system that they believe can detect dementia after a brain scan.
It is possible to predict whether the condition will persist for years, slowly worsen, or the patient will need immediate treatment.
Currently, several tests and CT scans are needed to diagnose dementia.
The researchers involved in the study say that early diagnosis by the system they have developed will greatly improve patients’ prognosis.
“If we intervene earlier, treatments can act earlier and delay the progression of the disease, while at the same time preventing further damage,” says Joe Cortsey, professor of psychology at the University of Cambridge (center) at the Alan Turing Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science.
“Symptoms may or may not occur later in life,” he adds.
Professor Cortsey’s system compares the brain scans of people believed to have dementia to thousands of patients.
In this sense, the algorithm can identify patterns in these selections that are not observed by neurologists and match patterns in the patient’s results in its database.
On preliminary tests, he was able to diagnose dementia several years before the onset of symptoms, although there were no obvious signs of brain damage on CT.
Tests at Addenbrooke Hospital and other memory clinics in the UK will test whether the system works in the medical system with the usual methods of diagnosing dementia.
In the first year, the participation of about 500 patients is expected.
The results will be sent to their doctors who, if necessary, can advise them on the course of treatment.
Tim Ridman, a neuroscientist who led the study, called the artificial intelligence system a “fantastic achievement.” It is a collaboration between neuroscientists at the University of Cambridge.
“This set of diseases can be really devastating for people. So when I have to give this information to a patient, I can do anything to be more confident in the diagnosis and help them to know more about the progression of the disease so they can better plan their lives … This is for me That would be very useful. “
One of the volunteers is Denise Clark, 75, of Britain. He was a former manager of a meat company, retiring five years ago.
Last year, his wife, Penelope, noticed that Denise had occasional memory problems.
And now the couple is worried that he will have dementia.
Denise tries to describe her symptoms, but Penelope intervenes, saying it is difficult to explain what is happening.
Another concern that affects the couple is that they will have to sell their house for Denise’s medical care.
So Penelope says he is relieved that he does not have to wait long for a diagnosis and a hint on how any dementia can progress.
“We can plan financially,” he says. “As a couple, we’d like to know if we can take a vacation before Denise’s health deteriorates to the point where she can no longer travel.”
Another Ridman patient, Mark Thompson, 57, says the early diagnostic system must have made a “big difference” in his life when he began to experience memory loss ten months ago.
“I took the test after the test and at least four tests before I was diagnosed (with dementia),” he recalled.
“The medical team was wonderful and out of the way to find out what was wrong with me.”
“But the uncertainty caused more mental problems than me.”
“Is it a lump? Do I need surgery to remove it? I was so depressed not knowing what the problem was.”