Alzheimer's disease affects over 5.4 million adults in the United Stats and that number is expected to grow significantly (.pdf) in the coming decade. Researchers across the United States are working to develop treatments for delaying, or preventing, the onset of the disease and tools for diagnosing it earlier.
Next week at the Stanford Medicine X conference, Emory University researcher Eugene Agichtein, PhD, will present his team's efforts to develop and validate automated web-based behavioral diagnostics for the early detection of Alzheimer's. Agichtein describes the study objective and conclusions in a Medicine X abstract:
We aim to develop ... an automated version of the [Visual Paired Comparison (VPC)] test, which would enable cognitive assessment of patients and research subjects using any computer with internet access. VPC-Web employs a specialized user interface to track a patient's examination of the images without requiring eye tracking equipment or specialized personnel, together with machine learning techniques from computer science to accurately identify the memory status of subjects by mining their image viewing behavior. These tools could dramatically facilitate the current practice of clinical translational research as well as the current methods used for diagnosing cognitive deficits.
[Our] preliminary data demonstrate that VPC-Web is able to distinguish normal from impaired patients, providing an accessible, inexpensive way to detect a prodromal phase of Alzheimer's disease. VPC-Web has the potential to dramatically increase the number of people who could be assessed for cognitive disorders and to significantly improve our ability to identify those at risk. Current and future research plans include improving the usability of the test, refining the detection algorithms, and performing a large-scale longitudinal study.
For more information on the conference or to register, visit the Medicine X conference website.
More news about the Medicine X conference is available in the Medicine X category.