New AI-powered tech in development to detect Alzheimer's disease early

  • A new global initiative plans to use wearable tech and artificial intelligence to detect the subtle early warning signs of Alzheimer's disease.

    Dementia currently affects around 850,000 in the UK, with limited treatment options available to many of those affected. A large part of the challenge in developing new treatments is that the causal mechanisms for the underlying diseases aren't all fully known. Marked differences have been observed in the brain tissue of those with Alzheimer's disease, but this hasn't led to an effective treatment for the condition.

    Early diagosis of dementia before cognitive decline takes place could help identify the causes and get treatment options to those affected earlier, but the early warning signs of the condition are not easy to spot. Now the Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases sponsored by charity Alzheimer's Research UK is taking a brand new approach to early detection using wearable devices and AI.

    Wearable devices such as smart watches can capture huge amounts of data about our physical state, from heart rate and blood flow to walking gait and sleep activity. The plan is to develop a wearable device that will capture all of this data from a large set of volunteers, and then feed all of this data into an AI.

    Artificial Intelligence is fantastic at finding subtle correlations in large data sets, so once it's amassed enough data on healthy individuals and those who went on to develop a neurodegenerative disease, it should be able to classify which healthy individuals are most at risk. The goal is to spot the subtle telltale signs of the disease in the data even if a human doctor wouldn't know to look for them.

    Source: BBC News

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