Doctors will be able to diagnose dementia in a day using artificial intelligence (AI) brain scans, a new study suggests.
Preliminary findings from preclinical tests carried out by the University of Cambridge, UK, show that a new algorithm is able to quickly detect the signs of neurodegenerative disease, reports the British newspaper The Telegraph.
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Currently, a person is diagnosed with dementia only after several tests and consultations with specialists, and the process can take months.
The researchers, cited by the journal, point out that intervening earlier can help in efforts to slow the progression of dementia and ensure that patients have more information about their situation in advance.
The AI test is being carried out on around 500 patients at Cambridge University’s Addenbrooke Hospital and other memory clinics across the UK.
Artificial intelligence compares brain images of people who may have dementia with those of patients who have already been diagnosed with the disease. An algorithm is used to detect subtle patterns in scans that often go unnoticed even by experienced neurologists.
“If we intervene early, treatments can start early and slow the progression of the disease while preventing further damage. And the symptoms are likely to occur much later in life or never at all,” says Zoe Kourtzi, professor of experimental psychology at Cambridge University, quoted by The Telegraph.
The estimate of the World Health Organization (WHO) is that 50 million people around the world have some type of dementia. According to WHO, 70% of cases are related to Alzheimer’s disease.
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