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Geisinger, Eisai Team Up to Study Use of Artificial Intelligence for Early Detection and Identification

Geisinger and Eisai Inc. announced a collaborative effort to study the potential effectiveness of an artificial intelligence (AI) tool in the detection of cognitive impairment that could identify dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). If effective, the AI tool could potentially be developed to support the early detection and staging of cognitive impairment and dementia, leading to appropriate additional testing for the clinical, biological diagnosis and treatment of dementias such as AD.

The research collaboration will study the use of an algorithm trained on a set of de-identified patient data to identify individuals likely to have cognitive impairment. The algorithm, known as a Passive Digital Marker (PDM), was developed and tested by researchers at Purdue University and Indiana University. The Geisinger-Eisai team will evaluate the PDM in Geisinger’s de-identified dataset to determine its potential to detect cognitive impairment, which may suggest early signs of dementia.

The number of people with dementia is growing substantially; more than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and this number is expected to increase to 78 million by 2030. Accurate diagnosis remains a barrier to early and effective treatment; research reviews estimate that between 40 and 60 percent of adults with probable dementia are undiagnosed.2 Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of dementia protects individuals against risks from delayed or missed diagnosis and allows individuals, their families and their caregivers to plan for the future as the condition progresses.

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“As we continue to develop new treatments to prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, early detection is becoming even more important,” said Glen Finney, M.D., director of Geisinger’s Memory and Cognition Program and a board member of the Greater PA Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of these conditions can drastically improve outcomes and quality of life for both patients and caregivers.”

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“As two recognized leaders with unique expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Eisai and Geisinger are joining forces to utilize artificial intelligence to identify people at risk for developing dementia and potentially create tools that could be used in clinical care settings,” said Alexander Scott, executive vice president, Integrity, at Eisai. “Leveraging the latest technology is just one way Eisai is working to fulfill our human health care mission and make a difference for patients and their families.”

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“AI technology has the potential to transform medicine,” said Yasser El-Manzalawy, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor of Translational Data Science and Informatics at Geisinger. “AI-based tools can efficiently scan massive amounts of healthcare data and identify hidden patterns. These patterns can be used to detect diseases, like cancer and dementia, at an early stage. Our data science research team is uniquely positioned to leverage this innovative technology to develop and validate tools to identify patients with unrecognized dementia or patients at high risk of developing dementia in the future.”

“As an implementation scientist, it is always exciting to have other scientists evaluate the reproducibility of the performance of our passive digital marker in very different populations,” said Malaz Boustani, M.D., Richard M. Fairbanks Professor of Aging Research at Indiana University. “Reproducibility is the cornerstone of scientific progress.”

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