USF students create program to combat Alzheimer's

Siegrid Pregartner and Laura Borgerding describe themselves as non-traditional students at the University of South Florida.

"We both applied to the college of pharmacy a little bit later than our fellow students. The average age of our class was about 23 or 24. By the time I graduate I'm going to be 40 years old. I'm a veteran. Laura was a middle school teacher who took care of children in underserved populations," said Pregartner.

Borgerding switched to the health field to care for others in a different way. Part of that decision stemmed from her family history.

"While I was growing up, my great-grandmother Mildred started suffering from dementia. She lost all that autonomy to choose what happens in her health care and that is so heartbreaking to me that she didn't get to decide what happened," said Borgerding.

Laura Borgerding with her great-grandmother Mildred

But the two are working to change outcomes for others. They are developing a software program called Janus AI. It would use machine learning to identify those who may be at the greatest risk for the development of Alzheimer's Disease. 

"Janus AI is named after the Greek god Janus. He is the God of doors and opportunities. He has two faces. One looking into the past and one looking into the future. With Janus AI, our goal is to search the past to protect your future. We want to find diseases before the symptoms happen. Before the irreversible damage," said Pregartner. 

They hope to one day give patients facing a difficult diagnosis some control over their health decisions.

"My goal for Janus AI is that, after it's FDA approved, it's in every physician’s office and hospital across the nation, to give patients a chance to make choices for themselves and their health care. If we can detect the disease a little bit earlier, we give our patients the opportunity to plan their future," said Pregartner.

For more information about Janus AI, visit