European Project Uses Artificial Intelligence to Help Improve Patient Care

Teresa Carvalho, MS avatar

by Teresa Carvalho, MS |

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The recently launched BRAINTEASER project focuses on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve the care of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

An initiative of a European consortium, BRAINTEASER could benefit patients, caregivers, and clinicians by enhancing the ability to predict, detect, and manage factors that contribute to disease progression. 

“Through a simple system of wearable sensors and apps we intend to bring the advantages of artificial intelligence directly to the patient, by integrating models for short and long-term risk prediction, clinical decision aid and prevention,” Barbara Di Camillo, PhD, BRAINTEASER scientific and technical manager, said in a press release.

Patients with MS or ALS often have to deal with numerous hospital visits and manage changes between care in a hospital setting and care at home. They also have to handle the uncertainty of when acute stages of the disease may occur and face significant effects on their psychological and financial well-being.

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In addition, clinicians need better tools to help make better treatment decisions and to assess personalized therapeutic approaches.

To address these needs, the four-year BRAINTEASER project was launched, led by researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain, and involving a collaboration between academia, hospitals, industry, and non-profit organizations in six European countries.

The project — BRAINTEASER stands for BRinging Artificial INTelligencE home for a better cAre of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple SclERosis — is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program and officially started on Jan. 1. Its kick-off meeting took place on Jan. 28–29 with a gathering of all the 11 partners.

The project will enroll a total of 300 patients with MS and ALS from four clinical centers in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The goal is to promote patient empowerment and self-management by providing them with coaching tools to help them gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become active participants in their own care.

Patients will be regularly monitored using specific instruments such as sensors and mobile apps. Clinical, socio-economic, and lifestyle-related data will also be collected and analyzed by AI models.

For clinicians, this initiative may enable them to better plan patient-tailored care and to predict disease progression.

The researchers will help to assess disease progression and advance medical interventions to prevent the decline of ALS and MS patients, while at the same time empowering patients to maintain their health, said Maria Fernanda Cabrera, PhD, BRAINTEASER’s coordinator.

The project takes a multidisciplinary approach, involving a collaboration of IT specialists, healthcare providers, and patients. The initiative seeks to show how the integration of clinical knowledge, technical skills, and patients’ contributions can bring about new approaches to care.

The developers believe this research will transform the current approach to health by shifting from reactive (diagnosing and treating diseases) to predictive care (disease prevention).

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