Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a degenerative condition that affected 5.8 million seniors in 2020 and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Detecting mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor to AD, and predicting its advance to AD dementia are key clinical diagnostic problems. Early diagnosis can motivate early intervention with lifestyle changes that build cognitive reserve or reduce comorbidity and thus prolong functional independence. MRI scans and specialized tests for AD-related proteins in spinal fluid or on PET brain scans are available, but it is not known how best to deploy these expensive tests or combine the information from them. New computer-based “machine learning” software tools may provide a solution to these problems.
This project will explore the use of a machine learning technology called deep learning to diagnose the stage of AD and to predict its progression. We will use the data available from the scientifically open Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database, which contains MRI, PET, risk genes, cerebrospinal fluid and other data. We will develop a deep learning model that performs its predictions using MRI data alone, and can also augment the MRI data with the other datatypes for improved performance at some expense. Our modern machine-learning methods are designed to be rationally factored in with other individualized clinical information to aid clinicians in these vital diagnostic decisions.
September 1, 2021 — September 30, 2022
Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions