Mar 3, 2008

Scientists Automate Alzheimer's Identification

Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London used computers to locate gray matter in MR images of potential Alzheimer's patients, and based on the data, the machines were then able to correctly make a diagnosis with a higher success rate than human doctors.

Scientists Automate Alzheimer's Identification

From the article summary in the journal Brain:

We used linear support vector machines to classify the grey matter segment of T1-weighted MR scans from pathologically proven AD patients and cognitively normal elderly individuals obtained from two centres with different scanning equipment. Because the clinical diagnosis of mild AD is difficult we also tested the ability of support vector machines to differentiate control scans from patients without post-mortem confirmation. Finally we sought to use these methods to differentiate scans between patients suffering from AD from those with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Up to 96% of pathologically verified AD patients were correctly classified using whole brain images. Data from different centres were successfully combined achieving comparable results from the separate analyses. Importantly, data from one centre could be used to train a support vector machine to accurately differentiate AD and normal ageing scans obtained from another centre with different subjects and different scanner equipment. Patients with mild, clinically probable AD and age/sex matched controls were correctly separated in 89% of cases which is compatible with published diagnosis rates in the best clinical centres. This method correctly assigned 89% of patients with post-mortem confirmed diagnosis of either AD or frontotemporal lobar degeneration to their respective group.

Full article: Automatic classification of MR scans in Alzheimer's disease Brain 2008 131(3):681-689