IBM study: AI could eventually predict Huntington's disease onset from one MRI

An artificial intelligence-based method of mapping the brain shows promise in addressing the wide variability in onset and advancement of Huntington's disease symptoms, a new IBM Research study suggests.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports and conducted by researchers from IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and the CHDI Foundation. They used MRI data to train an algorithm to recognize differences in the neural activity of Huntington's patients based on how far the disease had progressed, and how rapidly.

According to an IBM blog post by two of the study's authors, "The results demonstrate that measuring the potential progression of [Huntington's disease] could eventually be done from a single brain scan, acquired in one visit."

This ability would not only speed and improve disease diagnosis and treatment, but could also improve clinical trial design by identifying only those patients most likely to respond to experimental treatments, they wrote, adding, "These are only the first of a series of results from combined IBM and CHDI research efforts driven by a goal of hoping to use personalized medicine to further advance drug development for this disease."

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