Google to help detect heart disease through retina scan

Google AI-can-predict-cardiovascular-problems

"However, with medical images, observing and quantifying associations can often be hard because of the wide variety of features, patterns, colours, values and shapes that are present in real data".

Heart disease and stroke are the world's largest causes of death, accounting for more than half of all deaths worldwide in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

With this alarming figure, the findings of Google AI is considered a breakthrough that could potentially save thousands of lives in the future.

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Google researchers hope to ideal this method and machine further so that it could analyse the present data more accurately without the aid or direction of humans. When given the retinal image of a patient who experienced a major cardiovascular event up to five years after the image was taken, and the image of a patient who did not, the algorithm could determine which patient experienced the health event 70% of the time. In future studies, the researchers said they plan to explore the effects of interventions such as lifestyle changes or medications on risk predictions. More research would resolve whether the model needs to be adjusted for larger or smaller photos, and a larger data set than what the researchers used is more appropriate for deep learning. "We think that the accuracy of this prediction will go up a little bit more as we kind of get more comprehensive data. But we need to validate".

Coming soon.a Google AI heart disease test?!

Medical professionals today can look for similar signs by using a device to inspect the retina, drawing the patient's blood or assessing risk factors such as their age, gender, weight and whether they smoke.

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For the study, the scientists developed deep learning models using retinal fundus images of almost 3, 00,000 people available from two countries; the United Kingdom and the U.S. and validated them using those from another 13,000 patients. Maulik Majmudar, associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, called the model "impressive" but noted that the results show how tough it is to make significant improvements in cardiovascular risk prediction.

The tech predicts risk while being noninvasive, fast, and convenient. So, for example, if most patients that have high blood pressure have more enlarged retinal vessels, the pattern will be learned and then applied when presented just the retinal shot of a prospective patient.

"I am very excited about what this means for discovery", Peng said.

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By predicting cardiovascular risks early, Google and Verily are not trying to replace doctors.

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