There is a myriad applications for AI that extend far greater than the worlds of technology and business. The medical field for one could stand to benefit, and IBM is putting its resources to work in a new AI blood test that could help detect Alzheimer’s ahead of time.

The study for this test was conducted by IBM Research, and could potentially be a significant breakthrough in better addressing this degenerating disease.

In terms of how the test works, IBM’s Ben Goudey says that the team uses machine learning in order to identify a specific biological marker for Alzheimer’s called amyloid-beta. The test they designed can also determine an individual’s risk earlier than a brain scan can, he adds.

“While a wide range of other proposed blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease are being developed, this is the first study to use a machine learning approach to identify sets of proteins in blood that are predictive of a biomarker in spinal fluid,” notes the researcher for IBM’s genomics research team.

According to a paper published in 2017, the amyloid-beta located in a person’s spinal fluid begins to change and show signs of Alzheimer’s decades before the more visible physical ones start presenting themselves.

As such being able to detect the disease several years before it has begun to have an effect could prove vital in better preparing for Alzheimer’s, which still does not have a cure at this stage.

“The publication of this research comes just in time for Brain Awareness Week, happening this week. As our population lives longer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are affecting millions of people around the world,” enthuses Goudey.

“While these mysterious and crippling diseases do not yet have a cure, the answer to slowing their growth may lie in prevention,” he concludes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]
When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.