Alzheimer’s may be predicted 5 years in advance, Thanks to AI

Alzheimer's disease

Indian origin scientist led team develops a novel AI based approach to predict Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists at McGill University in Canada have developed an Artificial Intelligence based model which can predict onset of Alzheimer’s disease upto five years in advance. This approach monitors the congnitive decline in human brain through Artificial Intelligence.

The team of scientists led by McGill University psychiatry department assistant professor Mallar Chakravarty, designed and trained an algorithm to learn signatures from MRI, genetics and clinical data.

The researchers used data from more than 800 people under the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. Participants included healthy individuals, people with mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s patients.

According to the study published in PLOS Computational Biology, the the algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.

“At present, the researchers are working towards validating the algorithm’s accuracy using new data in order to improve predictions and assess its extent of detection.”

The researchers studied data from more than 800 people under the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. Participants included Alzheimer’s patients, people with mild cognitive impairment, and healthy individuals.

Findings from the study were then replicated on a separately obtained sample from the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Ageing.

It is expected that by predicting an individual’s cognitive decline towards Alzheimer’s, the algorithm will help in potentially early prevention and the right treatment for the disease.

Dr. Mallar Chakravarty
Dr. Mallar Chakravarty

“At the moment, there are limited ways to treat Alzheimer’s and the best evidence we have is for prevention. Our AI methodology could have significant implications as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ that would help stream people onto the right pathway for treatment,” said Mallar Chakravarty, an assistant professor in McGill University in Canada.

For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” said Chakravarty.

The team hopes that more data will aid in the better identification of those at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.

What Is Alzheimer’s?

According to Alzheimer’s Association:

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of dementia cases.
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age.Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.
  • Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
  • Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.


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