Health Life

Artificial intelligence could speed up and improve Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Diagram of the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s Disease. Credit: Wikipedia/public domain.

Artificial intelligence (AI) could help to diagnose Alzheimer’s faster and improve patient prognosis, a new study from the University of Sheffield has revealed.

The new research from the University of Sheffield’s Neuroscience Institute examines how the routine use of AI in healthcare could help to relieve the time and economic impact that common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, put on the NHS.

The main risk factor for many neurological disorders is age, and with populations worldwide living longer than ever before, the number of people with a neurodegenerative is expected to hit unprecedented levels. The number of people living with Alzheimer’s alone is predicted to treble to 115 million by 2050, posing a real challenge for the health system.

The new study, published in the journal Nature Reviews Neurology, highlights how AI technologies, such as machine learning algorithms, can detect neurodegenerative disorders—which cause part of the brain to die—before progressive symptoms worsen. This can improve patients’ chances of benefitting from successful disease-modifying treatment.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Laura Ferraiuolo from the University of Sheffield, said: “Most still do not have a cure and in many cases are diagnosed late due to their molecular complexity.

“Widespread implementation of AI technologies can help, for example, predict which patients showing will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, or how severely their motor skills will decline over time.

“AI-powered technologies can also be used to help patients communicate their symptoms remotely and in the privacy of their own homes, which will be an enormous benefit to patients with mobility issues.”

Machine learning algorithms can be trained to recognise changes caused by diseases in medical images, patient movement information, speech recordings

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3 studies point the way to better treatment for traumatic brain injury

The National Institutes of Health supports studies that look for better ways to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients.

Here are some recent findings:

Mental health issues may appear after a head injury. About one in five people may experience mental health issues up to six months after a mild head injury or concussion. Researchers found that at three and six months after an injury, some people were more likely to report depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. These findings suggest that follow-up care related to mental health is important.

Microbleeds may worsen a head injury. Tiny, hard-to-detect areas of damage to blood vessels in the brain, called microbleeds, may signal a worse outcome for people with even minor head injuries. Researchers found that patients with microbleeds were more likely to have more physical and mental problems after their injury. Researchers used an advanced brain-imaging scanner to see these small spots. Scanning for this type of damage after a TBI may help doctors know which patients need more intensive treatment.

Better emergency training saves lives. Updated brain-injury training for emergency medical responders may dramatically improve the survival rate of patients with severe head injury. Emergency responders across Arizona were given a short training on the latest TBI guidelines. These include preventing low oxygen, low blood pressure, and hyperventilation. Following those guidelines helped double the survival rate of people with severe TBI. This outcome shows the benefits of a simple, two-hour training session for emergency services providers.

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