Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

McGill University study: AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years

7 Oct

The National Institute on Aging described Alzheimer’s disease in What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?:

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease—those with the late-onset type—symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).
These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s, too.
This damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential in forming memories. As neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
How Many Americans Have Alzheimer’s Disease?
Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.5 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimer’s. Many more under age 65 also have the disease. Unless Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. This is because increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
What Does Alzheimer’s Disease Look Like?
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s, though initial symptoms may vary from person to person. A decline in other aspects of thinking, such as finding the right words, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition that can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s, but not everyone with MCI will develop the disease.
People with Alzheimer’s have trouble doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may ask the same questions over and over, get lost easily, lose things or put them in odd places, and find even simple things confusing. As the disease progresses, some people become worried, angry, or violent…. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-alzheimers-disease

Artificial Intelligence (AI) might provide clues to the early detection of Alzheimer’s.

Live Science described AI in What Is Artificial Intelligence?:

One of the standard textbooks in the field, by University of California computer scientists Stuart Russell and Google’s director of research, Peter Norvig, puts artificial intelligence in to four broad categories:
The differences between them can be subtle, notes Ernest Davis, a professor of computer science at New York University. AlphaGo, the computer program that beat a world champion at Go, acts rationally when it plays the game (it plays to win). But it doesn’t necessarily think the way a human being does, though it engages in some of the same pattern-recognition tasks. Similarly, a machine that acts like a human doesn’t necessarily bear much resemblance to people in the way it processes information.
• machines that think like humans,
• machines that act like humans,
• machines that think rationally,
• machines that act rationally.

Even IBM’s Watson, which acted somewhat like a human when playing Jeopardy, wasn’t using anything like the rational processes humans use.
Tough tasks
Davis says he uses another definition, centered on what one wants a computer to do. “There are a number of cognitive tasks that people do easily — often, indeed, with no conscious thought at all — but that are extremely hard to program on computers. Archetypal examples are vision and natural language understanding. Artificial intelligence, as I define it, is the study of getting computers to carry out these tasks,” he said….
Computer vision has made a lot of strides in the past decade — cameras can now recognize faces Other tasks, though, are proving tougher. For example, Davis and NYU psychology professor Gary Marcus wrote in the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery of “common sense” tasks that computers find very difficult. A robot serving drinks, for example, can be programmed to recognize a request for one, and even to manipulate a glass and pour one. But if a fly lands in the glass the computer still has a tough time deciding whether to pour the drink in and serve it (or not).

Common sense
The issue is that much of “common sense” is very hard to model. Computer scientists have taken several approaches to get around that problem. IBM’s Watson, for instance, was able to do so well on Jeopardy! because it had a huge database of knowledge to work with and a few rules to string words together to make questions and answers. Watson, though, would have a difficult time with a simple open-ended conversation.
Beyond tasks, though, is the issue of learning. Machines can learn, said Kathleen McKeown, a professor of computer science at Columbia University. “Machine learning is a kind of AI,” she said.
Some machine learning works in a way similar to the way people do it, she noted. Google Translate, for example, uses a large corpus of text in a given language to translate to another language, a statistical process that doesn’t involve looking for the “meaning” of words. Humans, she said, do something similar, in that we learn languages by seeing lots of examples.
That said, Google Translate doesn’t always get it right, precisely because it doesn’t seek meaning and can sometimes be fooled by synonyms or differing connotations….
The upshot is AIs that can handle certain tasks well exist, as do AIs that look almost human because they have a large trove of data to work with. Computer scientists have been less successful coming up with an AI that can think the way we expect a human being to, or to act like a human in more than very limited situations…. https://www.livescience.com/55089-artificial-intelligence.html

AI might prove useful in diagnosing cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.

Science Daily reported in AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years:

A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, a computational neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and his colleagues from the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, designed an algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data. This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.
“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. For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” says Chakravarty, an Assistant Professor in McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry.
The findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. The researchers trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients. They replicated their results within the study on an independently collected sample from the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Ageing.
Can the predictions be improved with more data?
“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data. It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even farther into the future,” says Chakravarty. With more data, the scientists would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 564,000 Canadians had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in 2016. The figure will rise to 937,000 within 15 years.
Worldwide, around 50million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Presently, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004155421.htm

Citation:

AI could predict cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease in the next five years
Algorithms may help doctors stream people onto prevention path sooner
Date: October 4, 2018
Source: McGill University
Summary:
A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

Journal Reference:
Nikhil Bhagwat, Joseph D. Viviano, Aristotle N. Voineskos, M. Mallar Chakravarty. Modeling and prediction of clinical symptom trajectories in Alzheimer’s disease using longitudinal data. PLOS Computational Biology, 2018; 14 (9): e1006376 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006376

Here is the press release from McGill University:

AI Could Predict Cognitive Decline Leading to Alzheimer’s Disease in the Next 5 Years
News
Algorithms may help doctors stream people onto prevention path sooner
PUBLISHED: 4OCT2018
A team of scientists has successfully trained a new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, a computational neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and his colleagues from the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, designed an algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data. This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.
“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. For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” says Chakravarty, an Assistant Professor in McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry.
The findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease NeuroImaging Initiative. The researchers trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients. They replicated their results within the study on an independently collected sample from the Australian Imaging and Biomarkers Lifestyle Study of Ageing.
Can the predictions be improved with more data?
“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data. It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even farther into the future,” says Chakravarty. With more data, the scientists would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 564,000 Canadians had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in 2016. The figure will rise to 937,000 within 15 years.
Worldwide, around 50million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, may contribute to 60–70% of cases. Presently, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease.

This work was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences andEngineering Research Council of Canada, the Fonds de recherche du Québec—Santé, Weston Brain Institute, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Alzheimer’s Society, Brain Canada, and the McGill University Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives – Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
The article “Modeling and prediction of clinical symptom trajectories in Alzheimer’s disease” was published in PLOS Computational Biology
For information and interviews
Bruno Geoffroy
Press Information Officer – Media Relations Office
CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (Douglas Mental Health University Institute)
Tel.: 514-630-2225, ext. 5257 //relations.medias.comtl [at] ssss.gouv.qc.ca”>relations.medias.comtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin described why early detection is important:

Early diagnosis is key.
There are at least a dozen advantages to obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis when cognitive symptoms are first noticed.
1. Your symptoms might be reversible.
The symptoms you are concerned about might be caused by a condition that is reversible. And even if there is also an underlying dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosis and treatment of reversible conditions can improve brain function and reduce symptoms.

2. It may be treatable.
Some causes of cognitive decline are not reversible, but might be treatable. Appropriate treatment can stop or slow the rate of further decline.
3. With treatments, the sooner the better.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-causing diseases is typically most effective when started early in the disease process. Once more effective treatments become available, obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis will be even more crucial.

4. Diagnoses are more accurate early in the disease process.
A more accurate diagnosis is possible when a complete history can be taken early in the disease process, while the person is still able to answer questions and report concerns and when observers can still recall the order in which symptoms first appeared. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis can be difficult once most of the brain has become affected.
5. It’s empowering.
An earlier diagnosis enables the person to participate in their own legal, financial, and long-term care planning and to make their wishes known to family members.
6. You can focus on what’s important to you.
It allows the person the opportunity to reprioritize how they spend their time – focusing on what matters most to them – perhaps completing life goals such as travel, recording family history, completing projects, or making memories with grandchildren while they still can.
7. You can make your best choices.
Early diagnosis can prevent unwise choices that might otherwise be made in ignorance – such as moving far away from family and friends, or making legal or financial commitments that will be hard to keep as the disease progresses.
8. You can use the resources available to you.
Individuals diagnosed early in the disease process can take advantage of early-stage support groups and learn tips and strategies to better manage and cope with the symptoms of the disease.
9. Participate or advocate for research.
Those diagnosed early can also take advantage of clinical trials – or advocate for more research and improved care and opportunities.
10. You can further people’s understanding of the disease.
Earlier diagnosis helps to reduce the stigma associated with the disease when we learn to associate the disease with people in the early stages, when they are still cogent and active in the community.
11. It will help your family.
An earlier diagnosis gives families more opportunity to learn about the disease, develop realistic expectations, and plan for their future together – which can result in reduced stress and feelings of burden and regret later in the disease process.
12. It will help you, too.
Early diagnosis allows the person and family to attribute cognitive changes to the disease rather than to personal failings – preserving the person’s ego throughout the disease process….                             https://alzwisc.org/Importance%20of%20an%20early%20diagnosis.htm

AI’s role in treatment of Alzheimer’s is an example of better living through technology.

Resources:
What Is Alzheimer’s?                                                                            https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease: the Basics https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/understanding-alzheimers-disease-basics

What’s to know about Alzheimer’s disease? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php

Alzheimer’s Disease                                         https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm

What is Artificial Intelligence? https://www.computerworld.com/article/2906336/emerging-technology/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html

Artificial Intelligence: What it is and why it matters https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html
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