Phoenix lab uses artificial intelligence to slow, manage Alzheimer’s disease

Jan 6, 2020, 4:05 AM | Updated: 1:53 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)...
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)
(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — Arizona is projected to have one of the fastest growing rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the country over the next few years, and a clinical lab testing company in the Valley is trying to reverse that.

Phoenix-based Sonora Quest Laboratories is working with a tech company called uMETHOD Health to collect patient data through a platform called RestoreU METHOD. The data collected includes medical history, demographics and lifestyle information.

Artificial intelligence is then used to interpret the data. Doctors use the findings to come up with individualized life course plans to manage or slow the progression of the disease.

About 150 healthcare providers across Arizona have access to RestoreU METHOD via Sonora Quest.

Tom Leggett, director of business development at Sonora Quest, said this is an effort to address a growing public health concern in Arizona.

“In comparison with other states across the union, Arizona is progressing faster in the number of people that are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” he said.

Arizona is projected to have one of the fastest growth rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the country over the next few years, according to a 2018 report by the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to the report, the number of people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in Arizona is projected to grow to 200,000 by 2025. That’s a 43% increase from the 140,000 people living with the disease in Arizona in 2018.

Older African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to the report.

Leggett said he and others at Sonora Quest are hoping to reverse the state’s growing trend of Alzheimer’s disease with the partnership they have with uMETHOD Health.

He said the partnership that began a year ago “has been highly successful.” He said the majority of patients who’ve had a life course plan created have either halted their memory loss or improved it.

Established in 1997, Sonora Quest Laboratories serve more than 22,000 patients every day throughout Arizona, and perform more than 60 million clinical lab tests per year.

The vast majority of testing is performed at its primary testing facilities located in Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Yuma.

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Phoenix lab uses artificial intelligence to slow, manage Alzheimer’s disease