MRI x-ray

Addenbrooke’s Hospital AI trial could speed up dementia diagnosis

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital has adopted artificial intelligence (AI) in a new trail, to rapidly diagnose early signs of dementia and treat the condition.

It can usually take months to diagnose, and typically requires two or three hospital visits involving a range of CT, PET and MRI scans, as well as invasive lumber punctures.

But the new AI trial is expected to act as a one-stop diagnosis, enabling patients to begin treatment to reduce the effects of the disease more quickly. As a result, this will give families and friends more time to put long term preparations in place. The technology also has the potential to predict the future of the condition, which could result in better patient outcomes.

The QMIN-MC trial uses a machine learning algorithm developed by Professor Zoe Kourtzi, research lead at the Alan Turing Institute. The algorithm trains itself to diagnose patients by looking at MRI brain scans to identify patterns in one brain scan. It then combines these findings with the results of standard memory tests.

Addenbrooke’s Consultant and Clinical Lead for the trial, Dr Timothy Rittman, explained: “Traditionally, when we look at patient scans we are looking for patterns to be able to help us exclude things like strokes and brain tumours. The computer can do this much more comprehensively than any human, helping to give us not only a more accurate diagnosis, but also a prognosis as well. With a better prognosis we can identify how quickly a patient is moving away from the normal pattern of the disease and amend their treatment and care accordingly.”

Around 80 patients have taken part in the trial, which is run by Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH), Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS FT, and two NHS trusts in Brighton. It aims to test how it works in a clinical setting, together with conventional ways of treating dementia.

If the results of the trial are successful, the algorithm could be rolled out to thousands more patients across the country, with the potential of saving the NHS half a billion pounds over the next five years.

NHE Sept/Oct 21

NHE Sept/Oct 21

Improving care for long-term conditions

Join us in our September/October edition of National Health Executive, as we explore a range of topics impacting and improving the care that we can deliver to patients, the facilities within which we deliver them, and the opportunities in the digital space to accent and evolve our care capabilities


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NHE365 Virtual Festival: Digital Healthcare

The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

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