Researchers use AI to predict progression of neurodegenerative diseases

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Researchers with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have created an artificial intelligence platform for tracking and predicting the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

The platform, developed by professor Boaz Lerner of the university's department of industrial engineering and management, will first be used for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that causes death of motor neurons that control voluntary muscles. This muscle atrophy leads to progressive weakness and paralysis, difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing. 

The researchers then plan to use the platform for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

"One of the big challenges of designing and managing clinical trials for ALS is that it is a rare disease, and clinical variability makes it hard to identify markers for severity," Mr. Lerner said. "As a result, after decades of research, there is still no real cure for ALS and several other challenging neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's.

"Our new technology will more accurately predict disease progression, a crucial ingredient for clinical trials, and better identify the interrelationships between demographics and other measurable factors identified through physical examinations and patient functionality," he said.

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