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[Discussion] AI Breakthrough: Predicting Alzheimer's Disease Seven Years Early with 90% Accuracy

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The Predictive Power of AI in Detecting Alzheimer's

An innovative AI system has the capability to predict Alzheimer's disease up to seven years before the initial symptoms emerge. The news bodes well for early treatment, according to a recent study published by the U.S. National Institute of Health. This AI model demonstrated a 70% accuracy rate when predicting Alzheimer's seven years in advance, with an accuracy rate rising to 80% a day before diagnosis. When researchers incorporated basic demographic details, such as birth year, gender, ethnicity, and race, the predictive accuracy surged to 90%. Remarkably, the AI was trained using past medical records of the patients.

Leveraging Medical Records for Comprehensive Prediction

Over the years, electronic health records have become a wellspring of data that can be leveraged to comprehend and predict complex diseases, especially Alzheimer's disease. The researchers in this study harnessed prior studies that used health records to track the development of Alzheimer's. They also utilized models that classified or predicted a dementia diagnosis from clinical data. From its vast medical records database of millions of people, researchers from the University of California–San Francisco curated clinical data for over 250,000 individuals collected from 1980 to 2021. Of these individuals, almost 3,000 had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

The AI models were trained on 70% of the patient records, which incorporated both Alzheimer's patients and controls—people not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The remaining 30% of the total patient records were withheld for the evaluative segment of the study. The AI demonstrated high accuracy in predicting the onset of Alzheimer's.

Identifying Early Predictors and Disease Risk

The researchers noted that the AI findings could potentially support hypotheses suggesting Alzheimer's disease can be associated with general aging or frailty, which might manifest in non-neurological body systems either before or concurrent with Alzheimer's. The study also identified certain early predictors that increased the risk of Alzheimer's including high cholesterol levels, congestive heart failure, dizziness, cataracts, and deteriorating cartilage between bone joints.

Surprisingly, osteoporosis appeared as a female-specific predictor of Alzheimer's risk. Female individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis demonstrated a quicker progression to Alzheimer's disease when compared to their unexposed counterparts.

The predictive capability of the AI system could significantly alter the battle against Alzheimer's, a disease currently without a cure. The ability to give years of forewarning to potential Alzheimer's patients could facilitate new strategies to decelerate or altogether halt the disease before it inflicts irreversible damage.

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Wow, that is quite incredible 😮 . 

While a cure for this horrible disease still eludes us, I do hope this can at least make the lives of those suffering from it more manageable!

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