How deep learning can advance study of neural degeneration

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Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated the utility of artificial intelligence (AI) in identifying and categorizing neural degeneration in the model organism C. elegans. The tool uses deep learning, a form of AI, and should facilitate and expedite research into neural degeneration.
“Researchers want to study the mechanisms that drive neural degeneration, with the long-term goal of finding ways to slow or prevent the degeneration associated with age or disease,” says Adriana San Miguel, corresponding author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State. “Our work here shows that deep learning can accurately identify physical symptoms of neural degeneration; can do it more quickly than humans; and can distinguish between neural degeneration caused by different factors.
“Having tools that allow us to identify these patterns of neural degeneration will help us determine the role that different genes play in these processes,” San Miguel says. “It will also help us evaluate the effect of various pharmaceutical interventions on neural degeneration in the model organism. This is one way we can identify promising candidates for therapeutic drugs to address neurological disorders.”
For this study, researchers focused on C. elegans, or …

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