Investigate Biomarkers in Alzheimer's Disease
July 1-17, 2022 | Online
We’re calling on experts from around the world to join us for a 17-day virtual Hackathon!
In self-selected teams of two to four people, you’ll investigate the potential clinical utility of different biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease.
Participants will use the new NeuroToolKit (NTK) app, developed by Roche in partnership with leading collaborators, work with datasets from the European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia (EPAD) Consortium, and utilize the tools on the AD Workbench. You'll also be able to collaborate with other participants in our new online community.
Interested in participating? Space is limited and registration will close on June 24, 2022 (or when spaces are full).
During the registration process, please provide a team name and identify a team spokesperson. Each team member is required to register separately.
After signing up, please keep an eye on your inbox for a confirmation email to finalize your registration. Your participation is not final unless it is confirmed.
The ADDI NeuroToolKit (NTK) Data Hackathon will be a virtual event, bringing together researchers, biostatisticians, data scientists, and clinicians to investigate the potential clinical utility of different biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease.
Self-selected teams will use a beta version of the NTKApp, EPAD datasets, and statistical analysis tools available on the AD Workbench. Participants will also have access to our new online community, to engage with team members and other participants, and access Hackathon information and resources.
Specifically, teams will:
- Perform exploratory data analysis
- Execute standardized descriptive analysis
- Conduct standardized hypothesis-related analysis
- Create their own standardized analysis
- Share and validate the customization analysis in different datasets
During the Hackathon, teams will use specified tools, resources, and datasets to complete the first challenge. The second challenge is optional.
CHALLENGE 1 : ATN Framework (Required)
Biomarkers have become an essential component of Alzheimer’s research.
The ATN (amyloid, tau, neurodegeneration) framework is a descriptive system to categorizing multidomain biomarker findings at the individual person level in a format that is easy to understand. It calls for the seven major Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers to be divided into three binary categories based on the nature of the pathophysiology that each measure.
- “A” is for beta-amyloid (CSF or PET)
- “T” is for tau (CSF pTau or tau PET)
- “N” is for neurodegeneration (CSF tTau, FDG-PET, structural MRI, and others)
Each biomarker category is marked as positive or negative and can be used to profile the etiology of the disease.
The EPAD dataset contains a vast range of data on cognitive outcomes, including socio-demographic data, cognitive assessment results, neurological diagnostic testing and imaging, psychological assessments, medical history and physical examinations, stress, sleep, and quality of life, and life events. These outcomes are hypothesized to be associated with the earliest stages of neurodegenerative disease.
The required ATN framework challenge is for teams to:
- Explore how the ATN criteria are associated with profiles that may include cognitive, functional, and neuropsychiatric features in this high-risk population. An additional approach is to explore the converse associations of cognitive, functional, and neuropsychiatric features with ATN criteria (or other cognitive factors) may provide additional insights into how patients may be clustered into different risk profiles.
- Evaluate the different biomarker definitions of A, T, and/or N and propose an improved definition of the ATN factors and compare them to the ATN definitions in published studies (see, “Application of the ATN classification scheme in a population without dementia: Findings from the EPAD cohort,” by Silvia Ingala et. al., Alzheimer’s & Dementia, July 2021 or for example, “ATN classification and clinical progression in subjective cognitive decline,” by Jarith Ebenau, et. al., Neurology, July 7, 2020.)
CHALLENGE 2 : Additional Diagnostics and Classifications (Optional)
Pathophysiological changes usually occur decades before a person experiences Alzheimer’s symptoms and are associated with several modifiable risk factors (see “Dementia prevention, intervention, and care,” by Gill Livingston, et. al., The Lancet, Dec. 16, 2017).
As pathophysiological changes precede cognitive symptoms, interventions (medication or lifestyle changes) can be the most effective when we can predict the disease’s progression.
Our optional diagnostics challenge is for teams to explore the relationship between biomarkers and additional Alzheimer’s disease risk factors, and how this relates to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. More specifically, teams will:
- Identify factors or variables that best predict that best predict biomarker (BM) amyloid positive from BM amyloid negative in older, cognitively normal (CN) adults.
- Define different cutoffs as compared to Elecsys cutoffs.
- Find individual or combinations of factors or variables that best explains the cognitive performance in older, CN adults.
- Identify different ways to classify older, CN adults based on risk factors for cognitive impairment.
- Evaluate the potential clinical use of Abeta42, pTau, and tTau in older, CN adults.
Teams will use the new NTKApp, along with either RStudio or Jupyter Notebooks.
RStudio and Jupyter Notebooks are currently available on the AD Workbench. Once the Hackathon begins, the NTK app will be accessible to participants. User guides and other information will be available via ADDI Connect.
A beta version of the NTKApp allows users to curate, analyze, and compare biomarker datasets. The app includes these modules:
- NTK Curate, enabling data to be curated before being uploaded to a workspac,
- NTK Analysis, facilitating statistical analysis and provides visualization options
- NTK Meta Analysis, allowing for data comparisons
RStudio is an advanced version of R programming. It is considered an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides a one-stop solution for all statistical computing, graphics, and R scripting in a single interface.
A Jupyter Notebook allows users to create and share documents that integrates live code, equations, computational outputs, visualizations, and other multimedia resources, along with explanatory text in a single document. It can be used with Python, R, and other programming languages.
Alzheimer’s is a global disease; it will require the efforts of a global research community to make meaningful progress in finding new diagnostics, therapies, and cures. While spaces in this Hackathon are limited, we encourage researchers from around the world to participate – especially AD Workbench users or NTK Consortium members.
Participants should work in a self-selected team of two to four members and at least one member should be experienced in:
- Programming languages (including R or Python)
- Neuroscience or Neurology (or a related clinical background that includes an understanding of Alzheimer's disease)
- Optional: data science (including artificial intelligence or machine learning)
After completing the ATN challenge (and optionally the diagnostics challenge), teams will produce a short (3-5 minute) video. Each team spokesperson will present their methodology, analysis, and findings. Video templates will be provided before the Hackathon begins.
Judges will conduct a blind review (voice and likeness masked) of the videos and score each submission on a scale from 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest) in each of these categories:
- Patient Value and Clinical Impact
- Scientific Value
This panel of esteemed judges will evaluate and score the Hackathon submissions:
- Kaj Blennow, Ph.D. Professor and Chief Physician, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry | University of Gothenburg
- Juan Domingo Gispert, Ph.D. Group Leader, Alzheimer’s Prevention Program – Neuroimaging Research Group | BarcelonaBeta Research Center
- Sterling Johnson, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Medicine | University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Craig Ritchie, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of the Psychiatry of Ageing and Director of the Centre for Dementia Prevention | The University of Edinburgh
- Ingrid van Maurik, Ph.D. Senior Research Associate, Epidemiology and Data Science | Amsterdam UMC – University Medical Centers
- Lisa Vermunt, Ph.D. Senior Biostatistician, Amsterdam Neuroscience | Amsterdam UMC – University Medical Centers
The world cannot bring an end to Alzheimer’s disease if researchers work alone. The “Community Team Contribution” category aims to recognize teams that break down silos during this Hackathon.
In addition to the blind review, each team will receive a score based on the value of their contributions to the new community platform. This will include the quality and number of posts, and the engagement received from other participants during the Hackathon. Remember to engage with the community!
While this Hackathon provides an exciting opportunity for participants to build their analytical skills and contribute to Alzheimer's research, it is also nice to have a fun reward to work towards. Based on their final scores, teams will be awarded the following prizes (a single team cannot win more than one prize):
- First and second place teams in the Patient Value and Clinical Impact and Scientific Value category will receive a Sony Playstation 5
- First and second place teams in the Innovation category will receive an X-Box Series X
- First and second place teams in the Technical category will receive a DJI Mavic Mini 2
- First and second place teams in the Community Team Contribution category will receive an Oculus Quest 2
Each Hackathon team member in the winning groups will receive their own individual prize (up to four); no need to worry about sharing. Have fun and good luck!
- May 17: Registration Opens
- June 24: Registration Closes
- Before June 30: Successful Teams Notified and Technical Set-Up Completed
- July 1: Virtual Opening Ceremony and Hackathon Begins
- July 17: Virtual Closing Ceremony and Hackathon Ends
- July 18-31: Submissions Reviewed
- August 1: Winners Announced Live at ADDI’s Symposium During the Alzheimer’s Association Conference (AAIC) and Via E-mail (Product Demonstrations and Other Information Will Be Available During AAIC at the Roche NTK/ADDI Booth - #212)
Any questions? Contact us at NTKHackathon@alzheimersdata.org