Shaul Mordechai

Ben-Gurion University, Israel

Title: Potential of infrared microscopy of white blood cells and machine learning to differentiate between Alzheimer's disease and dementia with lewy bodies


Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are two prevalent types of dementia, exhibiting similar symptoms, particularly in the early stages, which can lead to potential misdiagnoses. Despite the absence of specific medications to treat these neurological disorders, precise and objective diagnosis of AD and DLB holds immense clinical significance. Such diagnoses offer doctors reliable and standardized tests to support their evaluations and facilitate targeted therapies, potentially slowing down the progression of dementia symptoms and enhancing patients’ overall quality of life.

The study's objective was to explore the potential of mid-infrared (IR) spectroscopy-based machine learning algorithms as a sensitive approach to identify subtle biochemical changes associated with the onset of AD and DLB using a simple peripheral blood test. The researchers used IR microscopy to examine white blood cells and plasma from 56 individuals, comprising 26 controls, 20 AD patients, and 10 DLB patients. The obtained spectra were then analyzed using a support vector machine.

The results were promising, with the method successfully distinguishing between dementia (AD and DLB) cases and control subjects with an accuracy rate of 86%. Furthermore, it achieved a remarkable accuracy rate of over 93% in discriminating between DLB and AD patients. These encouraging findings suggest the potential of this approach as an innovative, straightforward, and valuable tool for mental health practitioners. Enhancing the precision and objectivity of AD and DLB diagnoses could significantly improve patient care and management of these debilitating conditions. 


Shaul Mordechai (Ph.D.) is a Professor of Physics and Head of the Biomedical Spectroscopy Laboratory at the Department of Physics, Ben Gurion University, Israel. His research interests include Medical Physics, Cancer Diagnosis, Biomedical Optics, FTIR-Microscopy, FTIR-Imaging, dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease, and machine learning. He was a Visiting Scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. He has co-authored many papers in Biomedical Optics, Tissue Microscopy, Optical Diagnostics, and Applications of Monte Carlo Simulations in Biomedical Optics.