Retina Eye Macro Closeup Close Up Google AI Heart Risk Article PDF Science Medical Health Tech

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making considerable strides in our lives. From chatbots that save us time and businesses money to big data analysis that can predict trends, failures and other insights. AI is also helping save lives. With Alphabet’s health-focused off-shoot Verily, showing how it helps spot people at risk of, or suffering from undetected, heart disease.

Using pattern recognition, the scanning and AI technology (PDF) in tests helped spot with 70% of existing patients. As more comprehensive examinations roll out that number will only grow as the AI becomes more finely tuned, and a quick retina scan or photo is a lot cheaper and easier to analyze in bulk than angiograms and other costly procedures.

While the research is detailed and statistics-heavy, the upshot makes for good reading:

“Our results indicate that the application of deep learning to retinal fundus images alone can be used to predict multiple cardiovascular risk factors, including age, gender and SBP. That these risk factors are core components used in multiple cardiovascular risk calculators indicates that our model can potentially predict cardio-vascular risk directly.”

AI and health for life

And this is just one example. Virtual health assistants are increasingly used to triage and handle basic medical queries. AI is being used to read CAT scans and X-Rays to help improve accuracy and diagnosis of secondary conditions that the technician might not be looking for.

We’ve also seen the likes of Apple’s Watch helping detect abnormal heart rhythms. The growing number of health apps mean more data is available for future AIs to monitor the health of societies as a whole, predict trends and highlight clusters of cases that might not be visible through normal methods for months or years.

In Japan, robots also increasingly help the elderly population or those who are immobile to get around and perform tasks. These droids will help take the weight off health-workers for generations to come.

Do let us know you most high-tech health experience!

Photo credit: Michele M. Ferrario
Source: Article by Ryan Poplin, Avinash V. Varadarajan, Katy Blumer, Yun Liu, Michael V. McConnell, Greg S. Corrado, Lily Peng & Dale R. Webster (Nature.com)

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