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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia. The long progression period in Alzheimer's disease provides a possibility for patients to get early treatment by having routine screenings. However, current clinical diagnostic imaging tools do not meet the specific requirements for screening procedures due to high cost and limited availability. In this work, we took the initiative to evaluate the retina, especially the retinal vasculature, as an alternative for conducting screenings for dementia patients caused by Alzheimer's disease. Highly modular machine learning techniques were employed throughout the whole pipeline. Utilizing data from the UK Biobank, the pipeline achieved an average classification accuracy of 82.44%. Besides the high classification accuracy, we also added a saliency analysis to strengthen this pipeline's interpretability. The saliency analysis indicated that within retinal images, small vessels carry more information for diagnosing Alzheimer's diseases, which aligns with related studies.

Tian Jianqiao, Smith Glenn, Guo Han, Liu Boya, Pan Zehua, Wang Zijie, Xiong Shuangyu, Fang Ruogu