AI can help diagnose Alzheimer's disease early


The cookie-theft picture-description task is a standard verbal cognitive test used to evaluate cognitive impairment. — Courtesy of IBM/Pfizer/AFP

Researchers from IBM and Pfizer labs want to use artificial intelligence to improve detection techniques for the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. While simple tests based on drawings allow doctors to discern the first warning signs of the disease, the researchers say it's possible to train AI algorithms to provide much more reliable predictions.

Published in The Lancet, the study evaluated the performance of an AI algorithm trained to make predictions about participants in the Framingham Heart Study cohort. The algorithm used data gathered over several years, relating to the "Cookie Theft" picture description task from the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, which represents two children in a kitchen stealing cookies behind their mother's back.

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