AI and Medical Diagnosis

Improving the accuracy of medical diagnosis

As we reported late last year, artificial intelligence (AI) is aiding drug operations. Today, we take a look at medical diagnosis.

AI and Medical Diagnosis

As Cade Metz reports for the NY Times:

“Each year, millions of Americans walk out of a doctor’s office with a misdiagnosis. Physicians try to be systematic when identifying illness and disease, but bias creeps in. Alternatives are overlooked. Now a group of researchers in the United States and China has tested a potential remedy for all-too-human frailties: artificial intelligence.

“In a paper published in Nature Medicine, the scientists reported that they had built a system that automatically diagnoses common childhood conditions — from influenza to meningitis — after processing the patient’s symptoms, history, lab results, and other clinical data.”

Click the image to read a lot more.

AI and Medical Diagnosis
Doctors competed against A.I. computers to recognize illnesses on magnetic resonance images of a human brain during a competition in Beijing last year. The human doctors lost. Credit: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

 

Insights on Health Literacy

It’s essential to become more health literate.

In the United States, how much do people know and understand about various health issues? For many, the answer is unfortunately not much.

Consider a few of the highlights from the report “America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information.” Click the image to access the full report.

Insights on Health Literacy

In general:

“Health literacy — the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions — is essential to promote healthy people and communities. Health care institutions and public health systems play a critical role in health literacy, because they can make it easier or more difficult for people to find and use health information and services. For the first time, there are national data that demonstrate currently available health information is too difficult for average Americans to use to make health decisions.”

“Limited health literacy isn’t a disease that makes itself easily visible. In fact, you can’t tell by looking. Health literacy depends on the context. Even people with strong literacy skills can face health literacy challenges, such as when: They are not familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work. People have to interpret numbers or risks to make a health care decision. They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared or confused. They have complex conditions that require complicated self-care.”

Key findings and policy implications of the first-ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) findings include:

Only 12 percent of U.S. adults had proficient health literacy“Over a third of U.S. adults — 77 million people — have difficulty with common health tasks, such as following directions on a prescription drug label or adhering to a childhood immunization schedule using a standard chart.”

“Limited health literacy affects adults in all racial and ethnic groups. The proportion of adults with basic or below basic health literacy ranges from 28 percent of white adults to 65 percent of Hispanic adults.”

“Although half of adults without a high school education had below basic health literacy skills, even high school and college graduates can have limited health literacy.

Compared to privately insured adults, both publicly insured and uninsured adults had lower health literacy skills.”

All adults, regardless of their health literacy skills, were more likely to get health information from radio/television, friends/family, and health professionals than from print media.”

Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes

Be more aware of the causes of cancer.

It is imperative that we understand as much as possible about cancer. That is why we published these earlier posts: Being Smart About Your Health. Interesting Cancer Facts. And Where Cancer Rates Are Highest. Today, we look at sometimes overlooked cancer causes.

Click on the image below to see a slide show from Sharecare that focuses on nine sometimes overlooked causes of cancer:

“Symptoms may not be so obvious. Some can be dangerously deceptive even. Seemingly minor changes, like a nagging cough or persistent backache, can sometimes signal cancer. Too often, these are not taken seriously until the disease has progressed.”

“So, how can you distinguish between an innocent ache and a pain you should report to your doctor? ‘I tell patients that if there are symptoms that are out of the ordinary or persistent or frequent in nature or extreme in intensity, they should seek attention from their primary provider,” says oncologist Elwyn Cabebe, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California.”

“Signs and symptoms vary widely, so don’t hesitate to talk to your health-care provider about anything that seems out of the ordinary—especially if you notice one of these nine cancer indicators.”

Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes

 

Cancer Research Institute Conference Video

In June, the Cancer Research Institute held its annual cancer awareness conference. Complete with an excellent video, which is shown below.

As it notes at YouTube:

“Our panel of immunotherapy experts discusses the latest cancer immunotherapy advances featured at the world’s largest oncology conference—the 2018 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)—with topics including combination immunotherapy, biomarker development, CAR T cell therapies, and new approaches to immune-based cancer treatment.”

“Panelists include Charles G. Drake, M.D., Ph.D., of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Catherine Diefenbach, M.D., and Jeffrey S. Weber, M.D., of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., of the Cancer Research Institute, moderates.”

“We present this video as part of the Answer to Cancer patient and caregiver education program of the Cancer Research Institute, and feature it as part of our sixth annual global awareness campaign, Cancer Immunotherapy Month, in June.”

 


 

New Cancer Drug Approved

Those of us battling with cancer often feel research is not moving fast enough.

Yet, researchers are working quite hard. And billions of dollars are being spent.

Quite recently, the FDA approved a new and VERY expensive cancer drug. As CNN reports:

“Vitrakvi is the first medication developed specifically to target tumors based on gene mutations, not their location in the body.”

 

Apple and Stanford Partner on Smart Watch Study

For the past year, Apple and Stanford have partnered on a health research study using the Apple Watch.

This important study is huge.

As Nicky Lineaweaver reports for Business Insider:

“Apple and Stanford Medicine enrolled more than 400,000 participants in the Apple Heart Study since its launch in November of 2017 — making it the largest study on atrial fibrillation (AFib) ever conducted. The study will help Apple explore how its Watch can be used to identify AFib, a common type of irregular heartbeat that heightens the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.”

“AFib costs the U.S. around $6 billion annually, and is responsible for about 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations in the US every year, the CDC reports. And AFib detection has been one of Apple’s strategic focuses in healthcare thus far — the tech giant released the Watch Series 4 with an FDA-cleared AFib detection feature in September, for example.”

The Stanford Medicine site notes:

“The Apple Heart Study app uses data from Apple Watch to identify irregular heart rhythms, including those from potentially serious heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation. Apple is conducting this research study in collaboration with Stanford Medicine to improve the technology used to detect and analyze irregular heart rhythms, like atrial fibrillation – a leading cause of stroke.”

Click the image to learn more about the study.

Apple and Stanford Partner on Smart Watch Study