Pfizer and IBM researchers claim to have developed a machine learning technique that can predict Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms develop. By analyzing small samples of language data obtained from clinical verbal tests, the team says their approach achieved 71% accuracy when tested against a group of cognitively healthy people.
Alzheimer’s disease begins with vague, often misinterpreted signs of mild memory loss followed by a slow, progressively serious decline in cognitive ability and quality of life. According to the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s, and every state is expected to see at least a 14% rise in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s between 2017 and 2025. Due to the nature of Alzheimer’s disease and how it takes hold in the brain, it’s likely that the best way to delay its onset is through early intervention. But the disease is often detected too late to prevent it from accelerating.