Luca Gherardini, Aleksandra Pestka, Lorenzo Pini, Alessandro Crimi

The pervasive impact of Alzheimer’s disease on aging society represents one of the main challenges at this time. Current investigations highlight 2 specific misfolded proteins in its development: Amyloid-B and tau. Previous studies focused on spreading for misfolded proteins exploited simulations, which required several parameters to be empirically estimated. Here, we provide an alternative view based on 2 machine learning approaches which we compare with known simulation models. The first approach applies an autoregressive model constrained by structural connectivity, while the second is based on graph convolutional networks. The aim is to predict concentrations of Amyloid-B 2 yr after a provided baseline. We also evaluate its real-world effectiveness and suitability by providing a web service for physicians and researchers. In experiments, the autoregressive model generally outperformed state-of-the-art models resulting in lower prediction errors. While it is important to note that a comprehensive prognostic plan cannot solely rely on amyloid beta concentrations, their prediction, achieved by the discussed approaches, can be valuable for planning therapies and other cures, especially when dealing with asymptomatic patients for whom novel therapies could prove effective.