Reply to post: This research is hard to assess ...

IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests

Schultz
Boffin

This research is hard to assess ...

The claim is that "the software was able to successfully predict the onset of Alzheimer’s before an official diagnosis correctly seven in ten times." But there is no information about the error rate and the false positive rate of the diagnosis. Simple example: I can predict that all study participants have early stage Alzheimer's and I'll have a 100% success rate in predicting the onset of Alzheimer's disease (with a few false positives). And, of course, things only get more complicated from there, as the traditional diagnosis will have its own false positive and false negative rate (you have to wait for someone to die before you can diagnose the physical changes inflicted upon upon your brain by Alzheimer's disease).

That's the reason why it takes quite some time for a scientific break-through to make it into clinical practice and why most "break-throughs" slowly move towards the waste-bin of no relevance. Medicine is a complicated, messy business and I have my doubts whether the PR-driven stories from this week's or last actually matter. But then, if you can combine two or more hot topics into one story it clearly deserves attention!

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