New software may improve dementia diagnosis 

12/08/2016 00:00 
Software that could improve dementia diagnosis is being trialled at University College Hospital.

A prototype of the software, known as BrainMiner, automatically and intelligently analyses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to help the diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The software works by providing accurate information about key brain structures related to dementia and Alzheimers’ disease and compares this with information from a healthy population.

MRI scans are usually read by a radiologist. This can take time and may miss small but important changes during the early stages of disease progression. Use of the BrainMiner software not only increases accuracy but enables scans to be read quicker than a standard visual assessment and is more cost-effective. As a result, the software has the potential to save time during patient assessments and standardise the quality of care nationwide.

The BrainMiner team, which includes Professor Seb Ourselin, a researcher supported by the UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, anticipates use of the software will help the NHS meet its 2020 target of a standard diagnosis timeframe of six weeks post referral for dementia and Alzheimer’s’ disease.

UCLH Director of Research Professor Bryan Williams said: “This is a great example of how our BRC can help rapidly translate truly innovative technology for patient benefit for the whole of the NHS.”

NHS England’s Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare awarded £1 million to BrainMiner as part of its work to encourage the development of new products to address unmet health needs.

The BrainMiner software will be made available for public release in summer 2017.
BrainMiner Ltd was established in 2015 by Professor Ourselin, Dr M. Jorge Cardoso and Dr Marc Modat. Prototype development has taken place in association with UCLH.

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