Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Help Detect Alzheimer’s Disease?

Like many innovations in a changing world, artificial intelligence (AI) has its detractors. Some fear mass unemployment, an increase in social divisions among people, or even something beyond our ability to control, as the Business Insider recently noted.

Still others point to AI’s potential benefits to improve our lives. Among these, the Wall Street Journal reported, are healthcare researchers and practitioners who see a future of AI applications in detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and its broader implications for the medical field.

One company, for example, has developed a tool that it claims can detect Alzheimer’s disease 20 years before symptoms arise with a simple tool: an eye scan. With 80 percent accuracy, the company’s camera can detect features that correspond with the presence of amyloid—a protein marker in the brain that can influence Alzheimer’s.

Another company is developing an AI model that analyzes retinal scans and blood tests to help identify people at risk for developing dementia through the build-up of proteins and blood vessels that are associated with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Other researchers are building AI models to identify genetic markers of Alzheimer’s.

With appropriate technological application and a wide range of data, these new AI models may pave the way for improvements in dementia diagnosis and treatment, patient engagement, and even healthcare administration.