Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

IBM's AI Blood Test Could Detect Alzheimer's Earlier Than a Brain Scan

IBM's AI Blood Test Could Detect Alzheimer's Earlier Than a Brain Scan

The primary aim for researchers was to spot retinal degeneration that may be particularly linked to Alzheimer's disease. But in the eyes of 39 people living with Alzheimer's disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places.

They found the blood vessel network was less dense in the Alzheimer's patients compared with the other groups. That appearance signifies a healthy brain, but in cases of Alzheimer's disease, the blood vessels appear different.

In addition a specific layer of the retina was thinner in participants with Alzheimer's.

It enables physicians to see blood vessels in the back of the eye that are smaller than the width of a human hair.

"The company's Australian arm, IBM Research, Australia, undertook a research and published its findings in journal Scientific Reports".

The peptide known as amyloid-beta has been proven to change prior to visible memory-related issues, and examination of the concentration of the amyloid-beta in the spinal fluid can provide an indication of the risk of Alzheimer's disease years before it can occur.

In an online publication obtained on Monday, Goudey explained that Alzheimer has been diagnosed to be the cause of dementia - a decline in thinking and person's pattern of behaviour. Even though there is now no cure, early diagnosis will allow researchers to study new medications earlier as future treatments may be more effective when given early.


He also claimed that the learning model could drastically slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Prof Fekrat and colleagues said this offers "a window into the disease process".

Now the only ways to definitively diagnose Alzheimer's are through expensive brain scans or by taking a fluid sample from the patient's spinal cord. But such techniques to study the brain are invasive and costly.

Alzheimer's disease is now diagnosed once symptoms appear, such as memory troubles and perception problems.

"We're measuring blood vessels that can't be seen during a regular eye exam and we're doing that with relatively new noninvasive technology that takes high-resolution images of very small blood vessels within the retina in just a few minutes", said Sharon Fekrat, lead author of the study.

"But future studies need to focus on earlier stages of the disease", Isaacson said in an email.

In the US alone, 5.8 million people are living with Alzheimer's dementia, according to 2019 data from the Alzheimer's Association.

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