Saturday November 17, 2018

AI Technique to Improve Brain Scans to Predict Alzheimer’s Early

"If we diagnose Alzheimer's disease when all the symptoms have manifested, the brain volume loss is so significant that it's too late to intervene," Sohn said

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AI technique can boost brain scans to predict Alzheimer early. Pixabay
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Artificial intelligence (AI) can help improve the ability of brain imaging techniques to predict Alzheimer’s disease early, according to a study.

Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) trained a deep learning algorithm on a special imaging technology known as 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).

They included more than 2,100 FDG-PET brain images from 1,002 patients and on an independent set of 40 imaging exams from 40 patients.

The results showed that the algorithm was able to teach itself metabolic patterns that corresponded to Alzheimer’s disease.

It also achieved 100 per cent sensitivity at detecting the disease an average of more than six years prior to the final diagnosis.

“We were very pleased with the algorithm’s performance. It was able to predict every single case that advanced to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jae Ho Sohn, from UCSF’s Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Department.

“If FDG-PET with AI can predict Alzheimer’s disease this early, beta-amyloid plaque and tau protein PET imaging can possibly add another dimension of important predictive power,” he added, in the paper detailed in the journal Radiology.

While early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is extremely important for the treatment, it has proven to be challenging.

"The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol's role in Alzheimer's disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta," Vendruscolo said.
The results showed that the algorithm was able to teach itself metabolic patterns that corresponded to Alzheimer’s disease, Pixabay

Although the cause behind the progressive brain disorder remains unconfimed yet, various research has linked the disease process to changes in metabolism, as shown by glucose uptake in certain regions of the brain.

These changes can be difficult to recognise.

“If we diagnose Alzheimer’s disease when all the symptoms have manifested, the brain volume loss is so significant that it’s too late to intervene,” Sohn said.

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“If we can detect it earlier, that’s an opportunity for investigators to potentially find better ways to slow down or even halt the disease process,” he noted.

Sohn explained that the algorithm could be a useful tool to complement the work of radiologists — especially in conjunction with other biochemical and imaging tests — in providing an opportunity for early therapeutic intervention. (IANS)

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Microsoft To Acquire Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI

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Microsoft acquires conversational AI and bot development firm. Pixabay

Microsoft has announced to acquire a conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and bot development company XOXCO for an undisclosed sum.

Texas-based XOXCO has been paving the way in conversational AI since 2013 and was responsible for the creation of Howdy, the first commercially available bot for Slack that helps schedule meetings.

“It also developed Botkit which provides the development tools used by hundreds of thousands of developers on GitHub. Over the years, we have partnered with XOXCO and have been inspired by this work,” said Lili Cheng, Corporate Vice President, Conversational AI at Microsoft on Thursday.

Conversational AI is quickly becoming a way in which businesses engage with employees and customers — from creating virtual assistants and redesigning customer interactions to using conversational assistants to help employees communicate and work better together.

According to Gartner, “by 2020, conversational artificial intelligence will be a supported user experience for more than 50 percent of large, consumer-centric enterprises”.

The Microsoft Bot Framework, available as a service in Azure and on GitHub, today supports over 360,000 developers.

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A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

“With this acquisition, we are continuing to realise our approach of democratising AI development, conversation and dialog, and integrating conversational experiences where people communicate,” said Cheng.

Over the last six months, Microsoft has made several strategic acquisitions to accelerate the pace of AI development.

The acquisition of Semantic Machines in May brought a revolutionary new approach to conversational AI.

In July, it acquired Bonsai to help reduce the barriers to AI development by combining machine teaching, reinforcement learning and simulation.

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In September, Microsoft acquired Lobe, a company that has created a simple visual interface empowering anyone to develop and apply deep learning and AI models quickly, without writing code.

“The acquisition of GitHub in October demonstrates our belief in the power of communities to help fuel the next wave of bot development,” Microsoft said. (IANS)