When most people think of artificial intelligent, they imagine eerily smart robots. However, a lot of artificial intelligence is simply programming that can learn on its own. These programs adapt to new data instead of maintaining strict operating guidelines, and they can have some very exciting new applications. A new software created by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences can be used to provide better treatment and predict mortality for patients with heart problems.
Researchers Create Artificially Intelligent Software That Can Predict Death
Innovative new software was developed as part of a research project for a group of scientists from the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences. The researchers developed software that builds a virtual heart and then runs simulations to see how the heart will hold up to daily wear and tear. This highly detailed virtual heart uses over 30,000 reference points to replicate the unique heart contractions of a patient.
After creating the software, the researchers fed it data from many previous cases so that the software could learn what typically happens when hearts beat in a certain manner. The results of the researchers project were just published in the latest issue of the Radiology Journal. It explains that 256 patients were tested with the new software, and then the researchers followed up with the patients over the course of four years.
These patients all had high blood pressure in the lungs, which puts strain on the heart and can cause heart failure. The computer had an 80 percent accuracy at predicting survival whether or not the patient would survive for at least one year. Study lead Declan O’Regan says:
This is the first time computers have interpreted heart scans to accurately predict how long patients will live. It could transform the way doctors treat heart patients.
The software’s ability to learn and automatically analyze patients by referencing past data show one of the many uses of artificial intelligence.
Potential Applications for the New Artificial Intelligence Software
This software may be very useful because it has the potential to change how doctors diagnose dangerous heart conditions. High blood pressure has always been linked to heart failure, but doctors previously relied on lengthy hand-made measurements of patients’ organs and the doctor’s own experience to diagnose outcome. This led to some doctors accidentally predicting a patient would be fine right before the heart issues killed the person.
The newly developed tool is far more accurate, and it can analyze a patient in just seconds. Being able to identify at-risk patients immediately will ensure that people get the right treatment as soon as possible. Ragan believes that the software will help doctors to “tailor getting absolutely the right intensive treatment to those who will benefit the most.”
Preventing heart failure is much easier than recovering from it, so early diagnosis is key to survival. Having a software that shows precisely what will happen to a patient allows doctors to create a treatment plan that strengthens the heart before it fails. Since the software can learn by examining more data, it will most likely become even more useful as time progresses.
The Researchers Next Steps
Cardiologists hope to start testing the heart prediction software in more hospitals. Artificially intelligent software tends to become more accurate when more data is presented, so having a wide range of patients with different heart problems will help to expand the software’s applications. The researchers want to eventually use their project for other heart issues like cardiomyopathy so that they can provide more preventative treatment before serious heart failure occurs.
Photo by “A Health Blog”, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.