ALAMEDA: Artificial Intelligence for the treatment of brain disorders

Providing personalized care and better treatments to patients with severe brain disorders by reducing the cost of treatment through the use of artificial intelligence: this is the ambitious goal of the European Commission-funded ALAMEDA project (www.alamedaproject.eu) of the HORIZON 2020 program1.

The three-year project started on January 1, 2021 and will be completed on December 31, 2023.

Mission

The ALAMEDA project aims to provide personalized care and better treatments for patients with severe brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. This, in order to ensure that medical interventions in the field of health are effective for the patient, but not only for him.

What we want to achieve is also the ability to “predict” any deterioration in the patient’s clinical condition, so that we can intervene in a timely manner to slow the progression of the disease.

Again, thanks to targeted and personalized treatments, ALAMEDA aims to lighten the burden on European health systems. To date, in the EU, the treatment of brain disorders represents one of the highest costs in the entire health system. Being able to intervene effectively is definitely an advantage.

The tools used

Among the main tools used are artificial intelligence and its management Big data as “prognostic” tools, this is because topicality, referring to brain diseases, is fundamental.

In fact, in most cases, when clinical symptoms occur in patients with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, the effects are virtually irreversible. Thus, early detection of symptoms can make a difference in the treatment of people with brain disorders.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this type of disease, but slowing its progression means guaranteeing patients affected by it a better quality of life for a longer period of time.

Today, the ability to “predict” and predict the treatment of brain disorder is made possible by advances in technology that allow us to work on paths that until a few years ago were unthinkable to be able to overcome. This is of great benefit to both the patients and the healthcare system, which will be less financially burdensome in the long run.

In the case of research into neurological diseases, technological developments are proving particularly effective in this regard. Working on his “new” methods Big Data Analytics And Machine Learning It is in fact able to provide clinically relevant information that can effectively implement medical recommendations, thus promoting greater effectiveness and equally greater effectiveness of treatments in an area where specialists predict an increasing shortage of specialists in the coming years.

The problem of lack of health personnel is indeed global and deserves proper consideration. According to the World Health Organization, by 2030 the EU will have a deficit of around 4.1 million skilled health professionals (midwives, nurses and doctors).

In terms of the overall economic and social impact, there is another consideration: as most neurological disorders increase with age, their incidence is expected to increase in countries with an aging population, such as Italy and many European countries.

In this context, the Artificial Intelligence tools used in the health sector can give life to a significant turning point, ensuring better disease management and lower treatment costs.

Future scenarios

Advanced data analysis systems will be distributed to continuously monitor patients’ health status and overall cognitive ability and to evaluate all aspects considered fundamental to the diagnosis of brain disorders: fatigue, psychosocial status, anxiety and depression, quality of life and satisfaction with technology and tele-Health Care.

Thanks to the use of Artificial Intelligence, the management of some cases will be facilitated and will become more effective even with the presence of heterogeneous and incomplete data. With this project, physicians will be able to design individualized follow-up plans to improve patient outcomes.

In addition, this will allow clinicians to have advanced tools for early relapse prediction to identify the most appropriate treatment, ensuring effective care of these patients over time.

Monitoring of motor function and sleep characteristics, an essential part of the ALAMEDA project, has the potential to predict the course of the disease, in particular to predict relapses or any worsening. All this will be necessary to improve the effectiveness of drugs and rehabilitation therapies, resulting in better care and quality of life for people with brain disorders.

Overall, ALAMEDA will bring benefits to health professionals and operators, extending the current landscape of diagnostic and monitoring tools available for clinical and health practice. A project that, without a doubt, is ambitious and due to its importance includes eight countries (Greece, England, Italy, Romania, Norway, Luxembourg, Spain and Cyprus) for a total of 15 organizations that are in the first line. . ALAMEDA, coordinated by ICCS – Institute of Communication and Information Systems (Greece), also sees the valuable cooperation of some Italian partners: EY – Advisory SPA; IMF – Foundation of the Italian Association for Multiple Sclerosis. Pluribus One Srl, which as part of the project deals with a subtle and inherent aspect of ALAMEDA IT security: the design of the platform that guarantees the protection and confidentiality of the data that will be hosted, processed and communicated to the scientific community.

It is not an easy task that deserves a few words in depth analysis, given the fact that in recent years cyber attacks on European health facilities have shown a growing and worrying trend.

Protecting the ALAMEDA platform from cyber attacks and unauthorized access will start with the creation of a “Threat Model”, through standard and widely used threat modeling methodologies (for example STRIDE2 or PASTA3). This will lead to the identification of specific cases and categories of potential attacks and threats that need to be addressed. But above all it will lead to the identification of countermeasures in terms of active protection mechanisms (security requirements that must be included in the platform itself) and passive (use and implementation of proprietary software solutions of the Sardinian company such as anti-malware, firewall, web wall application protection, to detect and eliminate threats).

Another aspect related to the security of the data used and hosted by ALAMEDA is the full transparency (both to the recipients within the consortium and to external stakeholders) of the measures taken to ensure the collection and processing data using high standards of security and privacy protection ..

All this in order to make ALAMEDA not only compatible with the GDPR, but also a reference case for closely related future initiatives, related to health data safety, but also to promote the exploitation and sustainability of the results achieved from the project.

Maris Matteucci, Matteo Mauri

1grant agreement No 101017558, with a total budget of 6 million Euros.

2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STRIDE_(اسφάλεια)

3https://owasp.org/www-pdf-archive/AppSecEU2012_PASTA.pdf

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