Issue 11 - 6 December 2011 enews home

New tool in the fight against Alzheimers

By Leanne Coleman

CDU PhD candidate Mohamed Elgendi with Singapore's Minster of Health Gan Kim Yong

CDU PhD candidate Mohamed Elgendi with Singapore's Minster of Health Gan Kim Yong

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Mohamed Elgendi has been working with researchers from the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Japan), and ESPCI ParisTech (France), towards the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

The team has developed a new tool, which aims to convert EEG signals (brain activities) into graphics and sound for diagnosis.

Mr Elgendi said that the "EEG Virtual Reality for Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease" tool provided an easier way to understand the complexities of the brain through simple graphic and audio representations.

"We are providing an alternative tool for analysing and exploring brain signals, for diagnosis of neurological diseases," he said.

"By asking volunteers to classify sounds generated via a wireless headset in real time from the EEG, we then transformed the patients' responses into graphics to provide us with a pictorial representation of brain activity.

"We found that the pictorial representation of the brain of a healthy patient varied significantly to those with dementia."

Mr Elgendi said this technology was important because it was based on the human perception and interpretation instead of a set of pre-defined rules stored in a computer.

"Interestingly the results show that converting the brain activity into music and graphics can increase the diagnosis dramatically compared to the existing black-box classification methodologies used in current computers," he said.

"It is hoped that this new screening technology will help in the early detection of this disease to improve treatment."

The new tool was recently demonstrated to Singapore's Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong at the opening of the new exhibition entitled "Uniquely You" in Singapore's Science Centre and will remain on display at Singapore's science centre for the next five years as part of the exhibit.

Mr Elgendi is currently finalising his PhD with CDU and is due to graduate next year. His thesis is entitled "Events Detection in ECG and APG signals".