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Alzheimer’s Algorithm Predicts Disease Years Before Symptoms Begin

By | August 28th, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease has no cure, but getting a diagnosis as quickly as possible can allow patients to start symptom-delaying drugs. The problem with getting that diagnosis, though, is that the early stages of Alzheimer’s can look a lot like mild cognitive impairment, which may or may not progress into Alzheimer’s.

A new study from McGill University may make it easier to distinguish what will develop into full-blown Alzheimer’s. The researchers used data and artificial intelligence to predict whether someone with mild cognitive impairment would develop Alzheimer’s, and were able to do so two years before the onset of dementia symptoms with 84 percent accuracy.

The Alzheimer’s algorithm takes data like memory test results, glucose metabolism in the brain, PET scans, cerebrospinal fluid and MRIs into account to predict whether patients with mild cognitive impairment will progress to Alzheimer’s.

Right now it’s estimated about 15 to 20 percent of adults over 65 have mild cognitive impairment, and they are at greater risk of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. There’s no way to predict who will and will not develop Alzheimer’s, however. Though it will need to undergo more clinical trial testing, researchers hope that this Alzheimer’s algorithm will offer patients more time to plan for their future and start disease-delaying drugs.

Read the full write-up here.

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