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Do I have Alzheimer’s disease?  Only one brain scan can tell

June 22, 2022 – A single brain scan could one day offer an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Using artificial intelligence to examine brain structures, researchers in the UK have developed an algorithm that can determine – with 98% accuracy – whether a person has the disease from a single MRI scan.

The tool could also tell the difference between early and advanced dementia in 79% of cases.

“Currently, no other simple and widely available method can predict Alzheimer’s disease with this level of accuracy, so our research is an important step forward,” said Eric Aboagye, PhD, professor at Imperial College London. , who conducted the research. Press release.

“Most people will go through a whole series of tests to arrive at a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and this tool can lead to faster diagnosis and reduce patient anxiety,” he said.

Doctors may be able to use this information to narrow down and modify the diagnosis, he said.

To develop their method, the researchers divided the brain into 115 regions and assessed each region for key characteristics such as size, shape and texture. Using machine learning, they trained an algorithm to identify where changes in these characteristics could accurately predict the presence of Alzheimer’s disease.

This research addresses the “important” question of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, says Rebecca Edelmayer, PhD, senior director of science engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It’s critical that people with Alzheimer’s disease be diagnosed early in the disease process, when treatment can be most beneficial,” she says.

Early detection also gives people and their families more time to plan for the future, participate in clinical trials and seek out community resources, Edelmayer says.

But she warns that this research is in its early stages and that the tool is not ready to be used as a “stand-alone” test for Alzheimer’s disease, but will require more testing in a more diverse group of people.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans have the disease. By 2050, this number is expected to reach almost 13 million.

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