Google AI can predict your heart disease risk from eye scans

Google AI can predict your heart disease risk from eye scans

Scientists working for Google's parent company Alphabet have used artificial intelligence to determine a person's risk of having a heart attack from their retinal scan. Given the fact that heart diseases is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world, this algorithm could be a big breakthrough.

Harlan Krumholz of Yale University who was not involved in the research believes technology could soon "turbo-charge" diagnosis. After seeing hundreds of thousands of these kinds of images, the machine will start to see patterns correlated with the medical data inserted. Those scans helped train the networks on which telltale signs tended to indicate long-term health dangers. An individual's blood pressure, age, smoking status has been earlier reported to be analysed by merely looking at retina scans and the pattern of blood vessels therein. Eye factors like blood vessels and lines in the ocular disc can give away things like that to the very well-trained eye, and this AI was very well-trained to look for discrepancies of just those sorts. Diabetes and high blood pressure, for example, can cause changes in the retina. These techniques allow us to generate a heatmap that shows which pixels were the most important for a predicting a specific CV risk factor. The results of this study show that, until now, the predictions made by AI can not outperform specialized medical diagnostic methods, such as blood tests.

Given the retinal image of one patient who later experienced a major cardiovascular event (such as a heart attack) and the image of another patient who did not, the algorithm could pick out the heart patient 70 per cent of the time.

"Using deep learning algorithms trained on data from 284,335 patients, we were able to predict CV [cardiovascular] risk factors from retinal images with surprisingly high accuracy for patients from two independent datasets of 12,026 and 999 patients", Lily Peng, product manager at Google Brain Team, wrote in a blog post. People could therefore gain access to tools that provide them with useful information on their health rapidly.

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Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the ANC leadership, long intimidated by Zuma, has ever spoken to him in such plain terms. He later apologised to the nation and now regards Zuma as having damaged the ANC and the country.

The idea that the hallmarks of disease could be detected through computational analysis has been alluring to engineers.

However, if further studies do validate the findings, the use of retinal images could lower the barrier to doctors discussing preventative measures with a patient.

Apple late past year launched a heart study tied to its Apple Watch to see if it could detect and alert people to irregular heart rhythms that could be a sign of atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke.

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