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Artificial Intelligence Is Now Just as Good as Doctors at Detecting Disease

Matt Shea - AskMen
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November 13, 2017
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The Doctor's Robot Will See You Now: In the not-too-distant future, a visit to the doctor's office might start with a conversation with the doctor's robot. Such robots could access diagnostic and medical data to evaluate the urgency of a patient's needs before they ever speak with a human healthcare worker. (World Science Festival)

Wondering if your number is almost up? The University of Adelaide can help. The Australian university has developed an AI system that can tell if you’re going to die. Handy.

Researchers last year illustrated that computers are already capable of interpreting pathology images. The University of Adelaide system initially does a similar thing: analysing CT scans for things like emphysema, an enlarged heart or vascular conditions like blood clotting. But it then applies deep learning algorithms to predict whether the patient will die within five years. Its accuracy? 69% — similar to the scores from flesh-and-bone doctors, the team’s paper says.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, involved scans from 48 patients. The system then used its previous analysis of over 16,000 image features to find signs of disease in the scans.

This might all sound pretty grim but of course the upside is, if a computer can find the signs of disease early enough, human doctors can then try to head it off at the pass. But there’s also something deeper going on here, lead author Doctor Luke Oakden-Rayner explaining in a University of Adelaide press release how a machine can tap into data in a way no physician ever could.

“Instead of focusing on diagnosing diseases, the automated systems can predict medical outcomes in a way that doctors are not trained to do, by incorporating large volumes of data and detecting subtle patterns,” he said.

The long-term aim is to set in place a system that routinely collects high quality images of patients, creating a trove of data that can better predict individual health. If the idea of going through a heap of regular medical scans makes you shudder, then you needn’t worry just yet. This was a small study with just 48 subjects. More research will likely be needed to confirm the team’s results.

See the original at AskMen

Related: Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Beats Doctors at Predicting Heart Attacks (Science)

Related: Virtual Reality Is More Than Just Fun. It Can be a Serious Pain and Anxiety Killer. (Mic)

Related: This Virtual Woman Is Very Sick. Talking to Her Could Make Doctors More Empathetic. (Upworthy)

Related: Artificial Intelligence Will Never Replace Humans, Experts Say (AAP - SBS Wires)


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