Dementia 101: How AI assists in the diagnosis and treatment of PLWD

AI assistance in early prognosis for PLWD

Dementia care has many challenges. In a previous blog, we outlined what dementia is, how to care for a loved one, and how music can aid in the treatment of dementia. With an estimated 50 million people worldwide living with dementia and no known cure, it is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time. Technological advances in science have meant that technology can be used to assist in the early diagnosis of disease and in the treatment of a disease. More recently, artificial intelligence is being used more frequently in numerous sectors. In medicine, AI is being used to help diagnose dementia earlier, monitor its progression, and develop new treatments.

AI in the diagnosis of Dementia

Many healthcare challenges, including the diagnosis and treatment of dementia, are being transformed by artificial intelligence (AI). One of the biggest challenges in treating dementia is the difficulty of diagnosing it early. Currently, the diagnosis of dementia usually happens after symptoms appear, and unfortunately, at this point, the disease may have already progressed significantly. By offering new methods to identify early signs of dementia, AI is assisting in changing this.

Changes in language patterns can be one of the first signs of dementia. A capability of AI is the analysis of speech patterns. AI algorithms can be trained to detect these patterns and identify people who are at risk of developing the disease. 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of California, San Francisco have developed different AI tools that are able to identify patterns in speech associated with Alzheimer’s. Their AI tool was also able to analyse brain images and predict the early onset of Alzheimer’s. 

AI for Monitoring the Progression of Dementia

After the diagnosis of dementia, AI technology can be used to monitor its progression. This could assist healthcare professionals with treatment plans, ensuring that patients receive the care they need. The applications of AI is evident in wearable technology, i.e., smartphones and smart watches. These devices can be used to monitor changes in sleep patterns, activity levels, and other metrics that can indicate the progression of dementia. Machine learning algorithms can be trained to analyse this data and provide insights into how the disease is progressing. AI is also able to analyse medical data from electronic records and provide insight into how the disease could potentially progress in a patient and assess the ways in which a patient would respond to treatment. 

AI for Developing New Treatments

One of the challenges in developing treatments for dementia is the complexity of the disease. AI and its many applications are being used to develop new treatments for dementia. It can also aid in the identification of new treatment targets and provide insights into how various treatments may work.

In applying AI to medical advancement, researchers developed an AI tool that can predict how different drugs will interact with the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This research is useful in identifying new drug targets and speeding up the development of new treatments. Clinical trial data analysis is another way that AI is used to create new treatments. The data is analysed using AI algorithms to find patient subgroups that might respond better to particular treatments. This may contribute to better treatment outcomes and quicker, less expensive drug development.

Dementia in any form can be frustrating for patients and their caregivers. Being considerate of the feelings associated with disease and understanding it from your loved ones’ perspective will help. Remember, their brain is struggling with basic functions; they are not trying to deliberately frustrate or anger you. 

At Faircape Health, we continually strive to improve our medical knowledge and expertise. In an effort to provide continual excellence, we actively participate in training sessions and symposiums which relate to the specialised care we provide at our healthcare centres. 

Our dementia caregivers are equipped to navigate the effects of the disease. Our specialist occupational therapists are trained to recognise the best possible therapy for each individual dementia case. 

We take great care to ensure that each patient receives the respect and care they deserve while overcoming the challenges of their illness. 

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