iPads test for early signs of dementia and Alzheimer's
A new trail launched in Britain this week is hoping to diagnose and identify cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s earlier in patients.
An unnamed Primary Care Trust will be testing the success of a 10 minute iPad based memory test ahead of its proposed general launch in 2012.
The Cantab PAL (Paired Associates Learning) test has been developed by the company Cambridge Cognition, who are hopeful it will eventually form part of a national hospital screening programme.
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The visual memory test focuses on the recognition of patterns and places and asks users to remember the position symbols appear on the iPad’s screen, all the while becoming harder.
According to the developers, it is able to recognise the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a pre-cursor to dementia.
Research has noted the test has an accuracy level of 95 percent and experts believe it is more advanced that the most commonly used dementia test, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), which only examines a part of the brain that deteriorates in later stages of Alzheimer’s.
GPs from high street surgeries will be able to conduct the test using an iPad or similar mobile touch screen device without them having to refer patients to specialist clinics.
Dr Andrew Blackwell, the Chief Scientific Officer of Cambridge Cognition, said: “We are getting feedback so that we can shape PAL to best meet the needs of the health service.”
Meanwhile, the Dr Anne Corbett from the Alzheimer’s Society commened: “A shocking 60 percent of people with dementia never receive a diagnosis.
“This means hundreds of thousands of people do not have access to vital help, support and treatments that could help them live a good quality life and plan for the future.
She added: “Finding ways of improving the early identification of the condition is therefore essential and this tool could help change this appalling picture.”
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Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”