Oggi Rudovic, Ph.D.

People at risk for Alzheimer’s disease vary in how quickly cognitive decline may occur. But a new model predicts cognition test scores for up to two years and may lead to improving what medications are prescribed.

Patients and families also may benefit from knowing when they will start experiencing rapid cognitive decline, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. Their work created a personalized model where score predictions were based on new data, such as information collected during a physician office visit.

Clinicians eventually can use the model to help select at-risk participants for clinical trials and track who is benefiting, they said.

“Accurate prediction of cognitive decline from six to 24 months is critical to designing clinical trials,” said Oggi Rudovic, Ph.D., a Media Lab researcher. “Being able to accurately predict future cognitive changes can reduce the number of visits the participant has to make, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Apart from helping develop a useful drug, the goal is to help reduce the costs of clinical trials to make them more affordable and done on larger scales.”

Rudovic’s team’s work will be presented this week at the Machine Learning for Health Care conference, held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.