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When the voice can reveal early Alzheimer’s: a new AI works miracles

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Although we still don't know exactly the root causes of Alzheimer's disease, we are becoming increasingly adept at detecting the warning signs. In this regard, scientists from Boston have made a real breakthrough in the field of prevention. They designed an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of analyzing the speech patterns of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI); this can then predict their progression to Alzheimer's disease with an accuracy of 78.5% within six years.

The results of their work were published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia on June 25 of this year.

The voice as an early revealer

This innovative algorithm was powered by audio transcriptions of 166 individuals aged 63 to 97, all with mild cognitive impairment. Using sophisticated machine learning methodology, they deciphered the language markers that predict cognitive decline in 90 participants who subsequently developed Alzheimer's disease.

Once refined, this predictive tool proved capable of assessing the risk of progression to Alzheimer's from new vocal samples by establishing a score. Ioannis Paschalidis, a computer science expert at Boston University, explains: “You can think of the score as the probability, the possibility, that’ a person remains stable or progresses towards dementia “.

This innovative approach is based on a careful analysis of the imperceptible nuances of speech, potentially revealing a deterioration of certain areas of the brain. This non-invasive method could radically transform early detection of the disease, paving the way for faster and potentially more efficient interventions. Paschaldis explains: “ We wanted to anticipate developments over a six-year period – and we found that we could do it quite reliably and accurately. This clearly illustrates the power of AI “.

Non-invasive methods are the spearhead of modern medicine and provide many advantages over traditional surgical approaches. Less pain and discomfort, fewer risks, increased precision and a wider range of available treatments. Precisely, regarding treatments, Paschaldis adds: “ Predicting the evolution allows better intervention with medications, thus offering the possibility of stabilizing the condition and prevent progression to more severe forms of dementia“.

A new era for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’?

The major advantage of this method lies in its remarkable simplicity and economic potential. Unlike conventional medical examinations, which are often expensive and intrusive, this approach only requires a simple voice recording. We could even consider its future integration into a smartphone application, thus democratizing access to early detection to a larger number of people. Notably, the recordings used in this study were of poor quality, suggesting increased reliability with more refined sound data.

This innovation also opens up new perspectives for understanding the initial mechanisms of the development of Alzheimer's disease and elucidate the reasons for its more rapid progression in certain patients. This could thus contribute to refining our understanding of this complex pathology, over which many gray areas still hover. Paschalidis shares his optimism about the potential benefits of this progress: “ We hope, like everyone else, that there will be more and more treatments for Alzheimer's available “.

< p>This AI system therefore has a double advantage: it could not only facilitate early diagnosis, but also accelerate the search for effective treatments against this neurodegenerative disease. All we have to do is wait for more targeted clinical trials on a larger scale to know if this tool will be included in the panoply of essentials of the arsenal of health professionals specializing in this afection.

  • Researchers at Boston University have designed an AI system capable of analyzing speech patterns to predict the progression of mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's with 78.5% precision.
  • For this, a simple voice recording could be sufficient for screening.
  • This innovative approach could improve the diagnosis of the disease and accelerate the search for treatments.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116