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'Computers could provide accurate Alzheimer's diagnosis'

'Computers could provide accurate Alzheimer's diagnosis'
22nd February 2008

Computers can diagnose Alzheimer's disease more accurately than experts, according to new research.

A study conducted University College London showed that computers can identify brain damage caused by Alzheimer's with a 96 per cent rate of accuracy.

Currently a definitive diagnosis of the condition is only possible after a patient's death.

This new method of diagnosis works by teaching regular computers the difference between brain scans from patients with proven Alzheimer's, and individuals with no signs of the disease.

According to the researchers, the two conditions can be distinguished by MRI scans.

A member of the research team, Professor Richard Frackowiak, said: "The advantage of using computers is that they prove cheaper, faster and more accurate than the current method of diagnosis.

"The new method makes an objective diagnosis without the need for human intervention."

In addition to accurately diagnosing the condition, it has been suggested that this test could help reassure elderly people that they are not suffering from Alzheimer's.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, the condition is one of the most common forms of dementia.

Dementia affects one third of people aged over 95.

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