Thursday, April 18, 2019
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Google develops AI that can predict your risk of heart disease by scanning your eyes

Here’s yet another potential breakthrough in the field of health care and Google is responsible for it. The California-based company has developed an AI system that can scan your retinas to assess your risk of heart disease has been developed.

While iris scan has been used in recent times in mobile applications for unlocking smart devices, Google’s new AI analyses the unique patterns on a person’s retina blood vessels to predict their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

The new robot is just as accurate as a traditional blood test. It analyses scans of the back of the eye to predict risk factors including age, blood pressure and whether you smoke or not.
Google says its algorithm which was developed in partnership with California-based health tech subsidiary Verily, was able to tell whether or not a patient would suffer cardiovascular event in the next five years with 70 percent accuracy.

Google develops AI retina image scan
The AI uses standard retinal image (left) to analyse the retinal blood vessel (right) (Credit: Google / Verily Life Sciences)

Patients with high blood pressure or who smoke are more likely to have weaker, thinner and damaged vessels than people who don’t smoke and are young and healthy. Using retinal image, Google says it is able to quantify and link this to a person’s risk of having a heart attack.

Study co-author Dr Michael McConnell, a medical researcher at Verily said: “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally.” The research team trained the algorithm using nearly 300,000 patient data, which includes eye scan and other medical information. Using deep learning, the robot is then able to link telltale signs in the iris scan to predict the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

For now, the AI is only a proof of concept. It may be a long while before we start to see its practical application in the field of medicine.

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