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AI Trends: AI and Medicine

April 21, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence | No Comments

AI and Medicine

Artificial Intelligence is here to improve our lives, by not just making things more efficient, but also increasing our lifespan. Companies across industries are experiencing the advantages that come with AI innovation, especially the healthcare space. 

Throughout human history, we’ve been able to understand the parameters that determine health better, and we’ve developed accompanying technology. With vaccines in the late 1700s, anesthesia and medical imaging in the 1800s, to organ transplant and immunology in the 1900s, healthcare innovation has been on an upward slope. In the 21st century, AI in medicine is showing us how that slope can rise further. Here are some popular trends in AI and medicine:

Virtual Doctors

Chatbots have experienced a rise in popularity across industry operations, and healthcare has an important use case for them. In a time such as the coronavirus outbreak, there aren’t enough medical professionals available to attend to all patients. In the USA, the ratio of physicians to the country’s population is around 277 to 100,000. The World Health Organization recommends a 1:1000 ratio, but 44% of its member nations don’t meet this criterion.

Conversational AI in medicine

Here’s where medical chatbots can reduce that gap. Chatbots offer 24/7 accessibility and instant responses. For patients facing unusual symptoms, they can address their health issues from the comfort of their homes with a chatbot. Conversational AI in medicine can be trained with conversational datasets that represent diagnoses for various diseases. Accordingly, the chatbot can recommend direct solutions for simpler cases or schedule a doctor’s appointment for the more serious ones. 

Treating Patients With Alzheimer

Many of our populations’ senior citizens end up suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the first step towards severe cognitive decline and it can have a toll on the affected individual and his/her loved ones. While it has always been hard to predict the chances of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s, today, AI can reliably perform the same prediction. 

Using a combination of biometric data and cognitive tests, AI models can determine a patient’s risk levels. Also, AI models are learning how to convert brain signals into machine-readable text. Such technology can also improve Alzheimer’s research and therapy.

Vaccine Identification

The coronavirus pandemic has created the wild chase for a vaccine, for its the solution to ending the world’s present lockdown. Organizations across industries are exploring ways in which they can contribute. This has led to exciting players entering the vaccine game. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Google are developing AI solutions for vaccine development. 

AI in vaccine development

When it comes to viral infections, their vaccines are produced by combining the original virus with another virus that can weaken the former. This combination will ensure that the virus to be tackled cannot reproduce or multiply well, thus being rendered ineffective. 

But, vaccine development is easier said than done. Pathogens have highly complex methods for dodging mainstream medication. Pathologists have to go through multiple protein structures and medicinal ingredients to zero in on the one that will cripple the virus or bacteria at hand.

Here’s where AI comes in. Artificial Intelligence models can read through thousands of research papers within the same time it takes a researcher to go through about 10. Also, an AI model can recommend vaccine ingredients that exhibit higher chances of success. Training such a model involves making it understand how protein folding and virus-to-virus interaction takes place. With the appropriate training datasets, AI models will be ready to help medical researchers and pathologists locate the right vaccine. Since clinical trials always are the rate-limiting step, AI models provide the advantage of saving time in other areas of vaccine development.

Managing Medical Records

Data is everywhere, and medical records have plenty of that. These records contain patients’ medical history, diseases, surgeries, etc. They also include treatment methodologies used for each scenario. So now, we’ve got a database of patients’ health issues with its accompanying solution. Such data can be converted into machine-readable text for AI models to consume. Once these models receive a list of a patient’s symptoms, using the data consumed, they can perform simple diagnoses and suggest treatment methods and medication. This can help doctors save time and be on top of their game even when presented with rare cases.

Wearables

Popular wearables such as Fitbit Flex, Samsung Gear 2, and Apple Watch have revolutionized the way we communicate with our mobile devices. It has also shown us how it can aid our fitness regimes, with counting our steps and measuring our heart rates. But, wearable tech has potential beyond the above-mentioned activities. Advanced wearables can today detect quivering or irregular heartbeats, symptoms that are a sign of possible blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other complications concerning the heart. Such information can be sent directly to a medical professional for immediate attention.

Cancer Treatment

AI in cancer therapy has allowed for numerous solutions to tackling this fatal disease. Computer vision systems can be trained to detect cancerous cells and understand what these cells look like at different stages. Adopting computer vision into cancer diagnosis results brings higher accuracy into the picture. This helping doctors and medical professionals provide better treatment options and extend more lives.

Surgery

Surgical procedures require high-level precision, and it takes a skilled hand to perform them successfully. AI-inspired surgical equipment could help guide a surgeon performing a complex procedure such as open-heart surgery, cesarean section, cataract, etc. 

AI in surgery

Using a combination of visual datasets and movement-based training, surgical AI equipment can locate parts of the body that need attention, sometimes better than a surgeon can. When developed successfully, such technology can revolutionize surgical procedures by increasing the number of successes and increasing patients’ trust.

AI-inspired genomic medicine

The National Human Genome Research Institute describes genomic medicine as a medical discipline that involves using genomic information about an individual for clinical care. Already popular in oncology and infectious diseases, this emerging field of medicine has arrived during the same era as Artificial Intelligence. By consuming large volumes of datasets containing genomic information, AI models can learn how to detect patterns and provide first draft health reports. Doctors can review such reports and use them for their medical practice.

Conclusion

While the avenues for AI implementation in healthcare are practically endless, AI’s ability to provide accurate results becomes the defining factor. Healthcare involves life or death situations, and any room for error could result in undesirable consequences.

Human error is inevitable and it’s something even the world’s best medical professionals can be victims of. Here’s where AI can relieve them of some pressure. AI models in medicine can learn from well-built training data sets, identify trends, and provide recommendations for medical practitioners.

Especially during this coronavirus outbreak, we need to provide doctors with the best technology available for them to perform their tasks with higher precision. AI trends provide for good news at this point, and hopefully, it’s forward sloping curve flattens out the coronavirus’.