AI is helping doctors diagnose cancer, heart defects faster than ever before

A series of MRI scans showing someone's brain

Over and over and over again, stories circulate from patients who go 5, 10, sometimes 70 years without a proper health diagnosis, despite constant doctor’s appointments, hospital trips, and the stress of tirelessly advocating for their pain. 

For women — especially women of color — pain often goes ignored or misdiagnosed, leading to late treatment for endometriosis, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, and countless other disorders. 

Fortunately, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are changing the tide in a new chapter of health care: one that is centered on patient-first care. 

One technological breakthrough includes a new visual-mapping AI model that can accurately identify diseases and tumors in medical images. 

“The idea is to help catch cancer and disease in its earliest stages — like an X on a map — and understand how the decision was made,” Sourya Sengupta, a graduate student at Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, told The New Indian Express

The researchers trained their model by feeding it thousands of images and giving it diagnosis tasks. In a variety of challenges, the AI was able to flag early signs of tumors, detect heart conditions in X-rays, and identify macular degeneration. 

“Our model will help streamline that process and make it easier on doctors and patients alike,” Sengupta explained. 

Adopting AI of this magnitude on a global level may sound too good to be true, but similar models are already being integrated into health care on an unprecedented scale. 

In January, an AI-powered tool helped detect a hidden heart condition in a 15-year-old boy. Last month, an AI model developed by the University of Louisville helped diagnose autism at a younger age. And a smartphone tool unveiled just this week is already helping doctors diagnose acute ear infections in babies and young children. 

A Moroccan doctor named Nacer Abid has been using AI to help detect anomalies in amniotic fluid ultrasounds and monitor fetal health during pregnancy. In an interview with Morocco World News, Abid expressed that AI is not an outright replacement for doctors, but a tool for “collaborative synergy.” 

“Instead, AI will emerge as the doctor’s greatest ally, empowering healthcare professionals to make faster and more accurate decisions,” shared Abid.

Header image courtesy of Daniel Schwen (CC BY 4.0)

Article Details

March 6, 2024 12:01 PM
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