- Alzheimer’s disease affects 15% of people over the age of 80.
- The most common symptoms of dementia are memory loss and difficulty with thinking, problem solving and language.
“Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. The diagnosis of this pathology is often difficult to establish, which leads to suboptimal patient care”, said researchers from Imperial College London (UK).
To more quickly and easily detect this neurodegenerative condition, they developed an algorithm for the classification of cancerous tumors and applied it to the brain. The scientists divided the brain into 115 regions and assigned 660 different characteristics, such as size, shape and texture, to assess each region. Using a brain scan, the team then trained the algorithm to identify where changes in these characteristics could accurately predict the existence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Accuracy up to 98%
Using data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, the researchers tested their approach on brain scans of more than 400 patients with early to late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, against those of “healthy controls”. and people with other neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.
According to the results, in 98% of cases, this approach based on magnetic resonance imaging could accurately predict whether or not the patient had Alzheimer’s disease. It was also able to distinguish between early and late stages of the condition with fairly high accuracy, in 79% of patients.
“At present, no other simple and widely available method can predict Alzheimer’s disease with such a degree of accuracy, so our research is an important step forward. Waiting for a diagnosis can be a horrific experience. for patients and their families. If we could reduce the wait time, simplify the diagnostic process and reduce the uncertainty, it would be a great help for them.” explained, Eric Aboagye, a professor in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College, in a statement.