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Doctors could use artificial intelligence to diagnose dementia more accurately and give better treatment, scientists say.
Researchers have invented a computer algorithm which can analyse MRI brain scans and learn how to recognise different types of dementia.
Types - Condition - Symptoms - Treatment
They say that although many types of the brain-destroying condition have similar symptoms, they respond differently to treatment.
Being able to correctly identify which type someone has means patients could be helped earlier on in their illness or given more targeted therapy.
Experts - Research - Future - Dementia - Britons
Experts say the research is 'pioneering' and has 'huge potential' in the future of treating dementia, expected to affect one million Britons by 2025.
University College London researchers have come up with the algorithm SuStaIn, which stands for Subtype and Stage Inference.
MRI - Types - Dementia - Patients - Brains
As it processes MRI images it learns how to recognise different types of dementia as they develop, predict what will happen in patients' brains, and identify the illness in its earlier stages.
'Diagnosing dementia accurately can be a challenge,' said Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK.
Symptoms - Health - Conditions
'Particularly as many of the early symptoms may overlap with other health conditions.
'Machine learning is an incredibly powerful tool and we are only just beginning to realise its full potential to analyse vast and intricate datasets in dementia research.
Study - Value - Machine - Learning - Ability
'In this new study the value of machine learning is demonstrated through its ability to bring together brain scans to give in-depth insights into the subtle brain changes in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia.'
Dementia is not an illness in itself but a term which describes symptoms caused by various diseases of the brain – by far the most common is Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists - Studies - Dementia - Treatments - Difficulty
Scientists say studies into dementia treatments can be troubled because difficulty distinguishing between types of the condition means participants may not have exactly the same illness.
Something which might work for Alzheimer's patients, for example, may not work for...
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