GÉANT and DECIDE – improving quality of life for sufferers from Alzheimer’s Disease

Using advanced networks and grid computing technology to enable earlier diagnosis and faster treatment for patients

Over 35 million people currently suffer from a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, a number predicted to double over the next 20 years. With no current cure, the medical focus is on earlier diagnosis, which dramatically improves the quality of life for patients and their carers.

However early diagnosis can be difficult and accurate identification requires analysis of a rapidly increasing volume of patient data, particularly detailed medical scans. The network and processing power to carry out this analysis effectively is beyond the budgets and computing power of most hospitals.

The Diagnostic Enhancement of Confidence by an International Distributed Environment (DECIDE) project aims to solve this issue, by creating a simple, secure and easy to use diagnostic tool, accessible by any doctor. It achieves this by bringing together the power of research networks, such as GÉANT, distributed databases, grid computing and powerful diagnostic algorithms. The combination of high speed networks and the distributed processing power of grid infrastructure mean that hospitals do not need to invest in any additional computing resources. Doctors simply log onto DECIDE from any networked PC, upload their patient’s biomedical images and let DECIDE handle the processing, comparing the images with vast reference databases and quickly returning the results to aid faster diagnosis, and consequently better patient care.

The Challenge
Disease earlier diagnosis is critical to improving patient care. However spotting diagnostic markers for the disease requires high speed access to medical databases and intense processing power in order to compare patient imaging data, which are often beyond the computing resources of individual hospitals. 

The Solution
A unique infrastructure bringing together powerful computing resources, high speed networks and international databases to enable clinicians to quickly upload, analyse and compare medical imaging data, enabling faster, more informed diagnoses.

Key Benefits
Through DECIDE’s combination of grid computing and high speed research networks, clinicians across Europe are able to access advanced, simple to use diagnostic tools from a normal PC, enabling faster diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and better care for patients.

Read the full case study.

Partners in the DECIDE project:
GÉANT: www.geant.net
DECIDE: http://www.eu-decide.eu/
GARR: http://www.garr.it