Analyzing queries made to Google, Bing, and other search engines can reveal the potentially dangerous consequences of mixing prescriptions before they are known to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a new study. Such data mining could even expose medical risks that slip through clinical trials undetected. Pharmaceuticals often have side effects that go unnoticed until they're already available to the public. This is especially true of side effects that emerge when two drugs interact, largely because drug trials try to pinpoint the effects of one drug at a time. Physicians have a few ways to hunt for these hidden risks, such as reports to FDA from doctors, nurses, and patients.
Two years after originally announcing it, Medtronic and IBM Watson have launched their joint platform the Sugar.IQ, a digital diabetes assistant. "It is designed for people who are currently using Guardian Connect; so made for people on multiple daily injections. It is a personal assistant a little bit like Alexa or Siri," Huzefa Neemuchwala, global head of digital health solutions and AI at Medtronic, said in a Facebook live informational session. "It is an intelligent assistant that keeps track of all of your information and has all of your information in one place. Then through Watson technology we use this information to power insights so we can better manage your diabetes so that you can spend more time in range."
The computer will see you now. Artificial intelligence algorithms may soon bring the diagnostic know-how of an eye doctor to primary care offices and walk-in clinics, speeding up the detection of health problems and the start of treatment, especially in areas where specialized doctors are scarce. The first such program -- trained to spot symptoms of diabetes-related vision loss in eye images -- is pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. While other already approved AI programs help doctors examine medical images, there's "not a specialist looking over the shoulder of [this] algorithm," says Michael Abràmoff, who founded and heads a company that developed the system under FDA review, dubbed IDx-DR. "It makes the clinical decision on its own."
Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a key tool in just about every industry, from marketing to recruitment and beyond. But one particularly powerful application for AI is in health care, where we're already seeing early signs of its potential. Iowa-based Idx is one startup using AI to detect early signs of specific medical conditions. Its first system, IDx-DR, is an AI diagnostic system that analyzes images of the retina for signs of diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes caused by high sugar levels. This means that health care providers, including doctors who are not eye care specialists, can use the IDx-DR system to detect diabetic retinopathy without needing to bring in a specialist clinician to interpret the image scan or results.