Health Headlines: Using AI to spot Alzheimer’s faster

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:29 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Neurological tests to determine a person’s cognitive ability can take lots of time since clinicians have to transcribe, review, and analyze every response in painstaking detail. But now, researchers at Boston University have developed a new tool that could automate the process.

It’s a machine-learning computer model that can detect cognitive impairment from audio recordings of neuropsychological tests without you even having to go to the doctor.

Dr. James E. Galvin is with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and explains, “Why have dementia if we can reduce those things we know are modifiable that are strongly associated with the risk of dementia?”

By using automated online speech recognition tools like, “Hey, Google!”, and a machine learning technique called natural language processing, the AI helps computers understand your recorded text. This allows it to assess the likelihood and severity of a person’s cognitive impairment.

Faster and earlier detection of Alzheimer’s could drive larger clinical trials that focus on people in the early stages of the disease and potentially enable clinical interventions that slow cognitive decline.

According to researchers, the model was not only able to accurately distinguish between healthy people and those with dementia, but it also detected differences between those with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. As it turns out, the quality of the recordings and how people spoke were less important than the content of what they were actually saying.

The research team trained their model using audio recordings from more than one thousand neuropsychological interviews and still needs to validate its results against other sources of data.