Brain scans powered by artificial intelligence could diagnose dementia in a day

Pre-clinical trials run by the University of Cambridge show that artificial intelligence may soon allow doctors to diagnose dementia in a single day.

The preliminary findings come from a new study at the university and could create a groundbreaking approach to dementia diagnosis. Currently, it takes several scans and consultations, and often many months, for a person to receive a diagnosis.

Early intervention

Research shows that more than 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, meaning the condition affects one in 14 people over the age of 65 and one in six people over the age of 80.

The team behind the study hope that the findings will mean earlier intervention for dementia patients, aiding with efforts to slow the progression of the disease and ensure patients have a wealth of information at an early stage.

Removing the need for long waits before a solid diagnosis, the breakthrough could also save families months of stress waiting for test results.

Study

The findings see artificial intelligence comparing brain scans of people suspected to have dementia with brain scans of people who are already diagnosed and living with he condition. Through this technology, subtle patterns in the scans could be detected that are often missed by even the best neurologists.

Now, a formal trial is being set up with around 500 patients at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge and other memory clinics across the country.

Charity Alzheimer’s Research UK predicts that one million people in the UK will be living with dementia by 2025, doubling to two million by 2050: research like this is essential in the search for treatments.

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