IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests

IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests

Machine-learning algorithms analyzing human communication can predict whether someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease more accurately than standard biomedical screening, say IBM and Pfizer.

IBM claims its software was capable of correctly predicting the onset of Alzheimer’s 71 per cent of the time, compared to 59 per cent for standard clinical techniques, by analyzing the descriptive abilities of people as they age for warning signs that the disease is taking hold.

“Our results demonstrate that it is possible to predict future onset of Alzheimer's disease using language samples obtained from cognitively normal individuals,” the team wrote in a paper published in The Lancet's EClinicalMedicine journal on Thursday.


Elon Musk's new idea is to hook your noggin up to an AI – but is he just insane about the brain?


Using data from America's Framingham Heart Study, which has examined more than 5,000 Massachusetts participants and their families since 1948, the IBM-Pfizer team trained their system using the results from cognitive tests administered every four years. Speaking in short sentences with less complex grammatical structures, and a repetition of the same words, are often signals that a patient is at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other identifiers. All of which a computer can learn to pick up on.

“The most prominent ones are lack of specificity in naming objects and actions, repetitions, and poverty of grammatical constructions,” Guillermo Cecchi, co-author of the study and an IBM principal research staff member told The Register.

Specifically, the researchers trained their system to look for signs of speech impairment by analyzing 703 language samples from 270 patients. The model was then tested on 80 participants; where the average age of the group was in the late 70s. The software was able to successfully predict the onset of Alzheimer’s before an official diagnosis correctly seven in ten times.

“Ultimately, we hope this research will take root and aid in the future development of a simple, straightforward and easily accessible tool to help clinicians assess a patient’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease through the analysis of speech and language, and in conjunction with a number of other facets of an individual’s health and biometrics,” Cecchi said. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Cheers ransomware hits VMware ESXi systems
    Now we can say extortionware has jumped the shark

    Another ransomware strain is targeting VMware ESXi servers, which have been the focus of extortionists and other miscreants in recent months.

    ESXi, a bare-metal hypervisor used by a broad range of organizations throughout the world, has become the target of such ransomware families as LockBit, Hive, and RansomEXX. The ubiquitous use of the technology, and the size of some companies that use it has made it an efficient way for crooks to infect large numbers of virtualized systems and connected devices and equipment, according to researchers with Trend Micro.

    "ESXi is widely used in enterprise settings for server virtualization," Trend Micro noted in a write-up this week. "It is therefore a popular target for ransomware attacks … Compromising ESXi servers has been a scheme used by some notorious cybercriminal groups because it is a means to swiftly spread the ransomware to many devices."

    Continue reading
  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022