“By detecting subtle differences in the way that Alzheimer’s sufferers use language, researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have developed an A.I. algorithm that promises to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s without the need for expensive scans or in-person testing. The software not only can diagnose Alzheimer’s, at negligible cost, with more than 95 percent accuracy, but is also capable of explaining its conclusions, allowing physicians to double check the accuracy of its diagnosis.
‘This is a real breakthrough,’ said the tool’s creator, K.P. Subbalakshmi, founding director of Stevens Institute of Artificial Intelligence and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Charles V. Schaeffer School of Engineering. ‘We’re opening an exciting new field of research, and making it far easier to explain to patients why the A.I. came to the conclusion that it did, while diagnosing patients. This addresses the important question of trustability of A.I. systems in the medical field’
It has long been known that Alzheimer’s can affect a person’s use of language. People with Alzheimer’s typically replace nouns with pronouns, such as by saying “He sat on it” rather than “The boy sat on the chair.” Patients might also use awkward circumlocutions, saying “My stomach feels bad because I haven’t eaten” instead of simply ‘I’m hungry.’ By designing an explainable A.I. engine which uses attention mechanisms and convolutional neural network— a form of A.I. that learns over time—Subbalakshmi and her students were able to develop software that could not only accurately identify well-known telltale signs of Alzheimer’s, but also detect subtle linguistic patterns previously overlooked.”
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