Japan study looks to big data for signs of Alzheimer's

February 12, 2014

Researchers in Japan will trawl through huge amounts of data to search for possible precursors to Alzheimer's Disease in a bid to identify who might develop a condition affecting millions around the world.

The study, which involves the healthcare arm of General Electric, will be based on a that Hirosaki University in the northern prefecture of Aomori has been conducting for years.

The survey is in its 10th year and includes a total of 9,000 residents in the prefecture, covering subjects as diverse as bacteria in bowels to dental health, density of bone and athletic ability, an official at Hirosaki University said.

More than 300 areas are covered, including blood pressure, pulse rate and other bodily data as well as information on lifestyle and family history of disease.

Researchers also hope to collect genetic information, pending individual approval, said officials from the university and GE Healthcare Japan.

Blood samples from the people surveyed previously have been kept frozen but their has not been collected.

Researchers are also mulling ways to track down people who stopped coming to annual health checks because, if they have developed dementia, it could give clues to which factors they should keep an eye on.

The data would be used for analysis in cooperation with GE in the hope of finding precursors to Alzheimer's Disease, the officials said.

The study, which could be extended over nine years, is being funded by the government in Japan, which is grappling with the challenges posed by a rapidly ageing population that is living longer.

Researchers are hoping to develop "an epoch-making method to find predictors of brain disorder" by analysing massive amounts of data with new software, according to a project summary posted on the science and technology ministry's website.

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a growing social problem for Japan.

Worldwide, 35.6 million people suffer from the problem and there are 7.7 million new cases every year, according to a 2012 report from the World Health Organisation.

In 2010 the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be $604 billion, according to Alzheimer's Disease International, a federation of Alzheimer associations around the world.

Explore further: Dementia cases to treble worldwide by 2050 (Update)

Related Stories

Dementia cases to treble worldwide by 2050 (Update)

December 5, 2013
The number of people suffering from dementia worldwide is set to explode in the coming decades as the population ages, trebling by 2050, according to a study released Thursday.

FDA approves GE brain imaging tool for Alzheimer's (Update)

October 25, 2013
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a radioactive imaging chemical from General Electric to help screen patients for Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

UK says cure or drug for dementia possible by 2025

December 11, 2013
British Prime Minister David Cameron says he hopes to kick-start an international effort to find a cure or effective treatment for dementia by 2025.

New Japan research scandal brewing over Alzheimer's study

January 10, 2014
Japan's health ministry said Friday it was probing claims falsified data was used in an Alzheimer's disease study involving major pharmaceutical firms, a day after filing an unrelated criminal complaint against Swiss drugs ...

Researchers identify variation in gene PLD3 can increase risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease

December 24, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A new study, part-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust and Alzheimer's Research UK, has shown that a fault in a gene called phospholipase D3 (PLD3) can contribute to the overproduction ...

Dementia cases to double by 2030: WHO

April 11, 2012
The number of people with dementia is expected to almost double to 65.7 million by 2030 as the world population ages, according to a World Health Organisation report published Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

July 19, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their ...

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.