Providers and physicians working with nursing home residents soon may be able to use a noninvasive method for predicting a resident’s chance of developing dementia. 

An Indiana-based research team is looking to deploy its machine-learning algorithms into clinics in an effort to identify patients at risk for developing Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Nearly half of nursing home residents, 47.8%, have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The noninvasive method uses machine learning to analyze data from electronic medical records to screen for dementia risks. Researchers recently completed a randomized trial for the screening method and found “no harm.” 

The method could prove to be a cost-saver for providers and patients and replace the need for expensive tests, researchers added. 

“The great thing about this method is that it’s passive, and it provides similar accuracy to the more intrusive tests that are currently used,” lead researcher Dr. Malaz Boustani, MPH, said

“This is a low-cost, scalable solution that can provide substantial benefit to patients and their families by helping them prepare for the possibility of life with dementia and enabling them to take action,” he added. 

A new tool recently developed by Swedish researchers is able to accurately predict the life expectancy of dementia patients.