Early diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening illnesses will be a lot easier and accurate thanks to world-first artificial intelligence research from The University of Adelaide.
The breakthrough offers new hope for people suffering from serious illness requiring medical treatment.
The AI can predict someone’s lifespan by looking at images of their organs.
The researchers, along with Australian and international collaborators, used artificial intelligence to analyse the medical imaging of 48 patients’ chests.
This computer-based analysis was able to predict which patients would die within five years, with 69 per cent accuracy — comparable to ‘manual’ predictions by clinicians.
“Predicting the future of a patient is useful because it may enable doctors to tailor treatments to the individual,” says Dr Luke Oakden-Rayner, a radiologist and PhD student at the University of Adelaide.
“The accurate assessment of biological age and the prediction of a patient’s longevity has so far been limited by doctors’ inability to look inside the body and measure the health of each organ.”
The researchers’ findings showed the computer learnt to recognise the complex imaging appearances of diseases, something that requires extensive training for human experts.
The most confident predictions were made for patients with severe chronic diseases such as emphysema and congestive heart failure.
“Instead of focusing on diagnosing diseases, the automated systems can predict medical outcomes in a way that doctors are not trained to do,” Dr Oakden-Rayner says.
“Our research opens new avenues for the application of artificial intelligence technology in medical image analysis.
The researchers hope to apply the same techniques to predict other important medical conditions, such as the onset of heart attacks.
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