Artificial intelligence and neuropsychological measures: The case of Alzheimer’s disease

One of the current challenges in the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is to identify patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that will convert to AD. Artificial intelligence, in particular machine learning (ML), has established as one of more powerful approach to extract reliable predictors and to automatically classify different AD phenotypes. It is time to accelerate the translation of this knowledge in clinical practice, mainly by using low-cost features originating from the neuropsychological assessment.

We performed a meta-analysis to assess the contribution of ML and neuropsychological measures for the automated classification of MCI patients and the prediction of their conversion to AD. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of patients’ classifications was obtained by means of a quantitative bivariate random-effect meta-analytic approach. Although a high heterogeneity was observed, the results of meta-analysis show that ML applied to neuropsychological measures can lead to a successful automatic classification, being more specific as screening rather than prognosis tool. Relevant categories of neuropsychological tests can be extracted by ML that maximize the classification accuracy.