The key to stopping Alzheimer’s using Data Science

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Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder in which the human brain cell dies. It destroys memory and other mental functions in a human being. It is mainly found in late middle- age and older-aged people. Some experts divide it into three phases: 

  1. Early 
  2. Moderate  
  3. End 

However, Dr Berry Reisberg from New York University divides this disease into seven stages.

Stage 1: No impairment-At this stage, this disease is not detectable. Its symptoms, like memory loss and dementia, are not evident.

Stage 2: Very mild decline-Memory problems can be noticed by the individual, but not by physicians and loved ones. The patient would still do well in memory tests. 

Stage 3: Mild decline-At this stage, family, and friends can notice memory problems. A physician can detect cognitive problems. The patient can face problems like finding the correct word during a conversation, remembering names, and planning things. 

Stage 4: Moderate decline-All symptoms of this disease are now visible.

Stage 5: Moderate, mild decline-At this stage, the patient becomes dependent on another person for their day-to-day activities.

Stage 6: Severe decline-They need professional care. 

Stage 7: Very severe decline-The patient is nearing death. They have now lost the ability to communicate and respond. 

Bill Gates on Alzheimer 

Alzheimer’s research has shown some changes in recent decades. 

It is difficult to share data because of the pharmaceutical companies’ efforts (they don’t want their rivals to gain benefits from the research) and patient confidentiality. 

Bill Gates describes why his Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI) is trying to bring change.

This initiative is all about making the research in this field more coordinated. Instead of scrolling through tens and hundreds of databases, scientists will now be able to get all their information from one location. 

Bill Gates thinks that this will make a significant impact in this field. We have many examples in the past, where we could deal with deadly diseases through coordinated efforts. 

The data has already proved its worth in the 21st century. If we have the data about weather conditions of a particular area, we will anticipate harsh conditions and even floods and droughts. This way, we will be able to save millions of lives. 

When data is used to treat diseases, accuracy increases drastically. Results are more trustworthy. The process is faster.

Finally, this Alzheimer workbench will be available for scientists starting this month. They will finally be able to work together for a larger purpose. However, the fascinating thing is that this workbench has already started proving its worth, not only on the diseases we were targeting but much more.

The exceptional circumstances that Covid-19 brought compelled us to use this workbench for more than just Alzheimer’s. This workbench allowed scientists from around the world to report symptoms and precautions for the coronavirus. It is helping scientists to understand more about this virus.

We understand that data alone cannot help us deal with Alzheimer’s. We need much more than that. However, we cannot neglect its use as well. At the very least, it can help test our hypothesis. 


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