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  • Busra Yildirim, reporter

Prediction of Alzheimer’s Found in Writing Tests

A major finding has led to crucial knowledge that could cause major progressions in the medical field. IBM Research made critical progress in predicting Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative disease that destroys memory and other mental functions. Since there is no evident cure, scientists continually are looking for ways to prevent and cure the disease.

Scientists state that one indication of the neurodegenerative disease are language patterns. A group of scientists studied 80 women and men in their 80s. Before the study, the patients all had a normal cognitive state. After seven and a half years, the patients were examined again and half of them had Alzheimer's.

The Framingham Heart Study, a federal research project, consists of required cognitive and physical tests. All of the patients in the study took a writing test before they had developed Alzheimer’s.

The scientists studied the patients’ word choice and took note of the vocabulary they used while they were functioning cognitively normal. One group of participants repetitively mentioned the same words when taking the test. They also spelled words wrong and made many grammar mistakes. These participants were the ones who ended up developing Alzheimer’s.

The program had a 75% accuracy predicting patients who are susceptible to the disease. These tests are important to conduct because they can provide indication if an individual is likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Although there is no direct cure, these tests provide a warning to the person who is likely to develop the disease.

Neurological diseases create unique speech patterns which can essentially develop before the person gets a diagnosis. It is an efficient measuring tool to indicate whether a person is prone to develop a neurological disease. These speech changes could also be used as an indication for other diseases such as schizophrenia.

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