Dr. Ruogu Fang and UF Researchers Use AI to Develop Individualized Treatment for Alzheimer’s

UF researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to understand individual differences in treatment response and develop a first-of-its-kind precision dosing system for remediating age-related cognitive decline. The research aims to enhance the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) treatment by tailoring the treatment to each individual patient.

Dr. Ruogu Fang (PI), Dr. Adam Woods (PI) and Dr. Samuel Wu (Co-I) were recently awarded a National Institute of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Aging (NIA) RF1 grant totaling $2.9 million for their project “Mechanisms, response heterogeneity and dosing from MRI-derived electric field models in tDCS augmented cognitive training: a secondary data analysis of the ACT study.”

The NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative funded Phase III Augmenting Cognitive Training in Older Adults (ACT) trial aimed to demonstrate that tDCS paired with cognitive training could help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. Conventional tDCS applies a fixed dose of electrical simulation to each patient. This research aims to enhance the effects of the treatment by tailoring the dosage to each individual patient.

Leveraging a robust and comprehensive behavioral and multimodal neuroimaging data set for ACT with advanced computational methods, the study will provide critical information for mechanism, heterogeneity of treatment response and a pathway to refined precision dosing approaches for remediating age-related cognitive decline and altering the trajectory of older adults toward Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Fang is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a Nelms Institute faculty member. She is the Director of Smart Medical Informatics Learning and Evaluation (SMILE) Lab in the Biomedical Engineering Department.

Dr. Woods is an associate professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at UF. He is also the Associate Director of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research (CAM) in the McKnight Brain Institute at UF.

Dr. Wu is a professor and associate chair in the Department of Biostatistics at UF. He serves as Director of UF CTSI Research Design and Data Coordinating Center.