Scientists are testing new artificial intelligence technology that could diagnose dementia after just one brain scan.
The new artificial intelligence system could also predict how quickly the patient’s condition will deteriorate.
At the moment, patients need to have several brain scans and tests and earlier diagnoses can greatly improve their outcome.
“If we intervene early, the treatments can kick in early and slow down the progression of the disease and at the same time avoid more damage,” said Prof Zoe Kourtzi, of Cambridge University and a fellow of the national centre for AI and data science The Alan Turing Institute.
“And it’s likely that symptoms occur much later in life or may never occur.”
Prof Kourtzi’s system compares brain scans of people concerned that that may have dementia with thousand of dementia patients and their relevant medical records, BBC News reports.
This algorithm can identify patterns and match them to patients on the database. In pre-clinical tests, the technology has been able to identify dementia even when there is no obvious indications of damage on the brain scan.
Consultant neurologist Dr Tim Rittman, who is leading the study along with neuroscientists at Cambridge University, said the artificial-intelligence system is a “fantastic development”.
“These set of diseases are really devastating for people,” he said.
“So when I am delivering this information to a patient, anything I can do to be more confident about the diagnosis, to give them more information about the likely progression of the disease to help them plan their lives is a great thing to be able to do.”
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