Previous studies have shown that in platelets of mild Alzheimer Disease (AD) patients there are alterations of specific APP forms, paralleled by alteration in expression level of both ADAM 10 and BACE when compared to control subjects. Due to the poor linear relation among each key-element of beta-amyloid cascade and the target diagnosis, the use of systems able to afford non linear tasks, like artificial neural networks (ANNs), should allow a better discriminating capacity in comparison with classical statistics.
To evaluate the accuracy of ANNs in AD diagnosis.
37 mild-AD patients and 25 control subjects were enrolled, and APP, ADM10 and BACE measures were performed. Fifteen different models of feed-forward and complex-recurrent ANNs (provided by Semeion Research Centre), based on different learning laws (back propagation, sine-net, bi-modal) were compared with the linear discriminant analysis (LDA).
The best ANN model correctly identified mild AD patients in the 94% of cases and the control subjects in the 92%. The corresponding diagnostic performance obtained with LDA was 90% and 73%.
This preliminary study suggests that the processing of biochemical tests related to beta-amyloid cascade with ANNs allows a very good discrimination of AD in early stages, higher than that obtainable with classical statistics methods.