Health & Medicine


Brain tech is coming of age, but will it make you smarter?

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With Brain Computer Interface (BCI), scientists and medical practitioners are already helping people with damaged limbs, eyes or ears regain sensations like touch, grasp, eyesight and hearing, by recording specific brain signals and translating them into actions. BCI exists in two forms: the first is the non-invasive, which includes devices or electrodes that are worn on the body. The second is the invasive variant where an electrode is implanted under the scalp so it can record information directly from the neurons in the brain. "The moment you talk about the invasive variety, it opens up a lot of possibilities. We have always had cochlear implants for cornea and ear, and pacemakers for heart. They have been fairly successful. Invasive variety can never be a mass product as it has to be entered carefully in a sophisticated medical environment only," points out Kumaar Bagrodia, founder and chief executive officer of NeuroLeap, a neuroscience startup.


Alexa learns to give useful advice to blind people

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Amazon and the UK's Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have worked together to make Alexa more useful to those suffering from visual impairment conditions. Thanks to this collaboration, the AI-powered personal assistant can offer advice on living with sight loss, obtained directly from RNIB's Sight Loss Advice Service. "Voice assistant technology is playing an ever-increasing role in transforming the lives of blind and partially sighted people," said David Clarke, director of services at RNIB. "Voice assistants can enable independence, helping to break down accessibility barriers to a more inclusive society. By using this technology to increase the reach of our own resources, we are ensuring that people can immediately get essential information about sight conditions, their rights, and the support available, simply by asking out loud." RNIB is a charity established in 1868, originally to provide better quality literature for the blind. Today, it offers information, support and advice to almost two million people in the UK, under the patronage of the Queen.


Google CEO eyes major opportunity in healthcare, says will protect privacy - Reuters

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DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc and its Google subsidiary, said on Wednesday that healthcare offers the biggest potential over the next five to 10 years for using artificial intelligence to improve outcomes, and vowed that the technology giant will heed privacy concerns. U.S. lawmakers have raised questions about Google's access to the health records of tens of millions of Americans. Ascension, which operates 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across the United States, is one of Google's biggest cloud computing customers in healthcare. "When we work with hospitals, the data belongs to the hospitals," Pichai told a conference panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "But look at the potential here. Cancer if often missed and the difference in outcome is profound. In lung cancer, for example, five experts agree this way and five agree the other way. We know we can use artificial intelligence to make it better," Pichai added.


AI Isn’t a Solution to All Our Problems

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From the esoteric worlds of predictive health care and cybersecurity to Google's e-mail completion and translation apps, the impacts of AI are increasingly being felt in our everyday lived experience. The way it has crepted into our lives in such diverse ways and its proficiency in low-level knowledge shows that AI is here to stay. But like any helpful new tool, there are notable flaws and consequences to blindly adapting it. AI is a tool--not a cure-all to modern problems. AI tools aim to increase efficiency and effectiveness for organizations that implement them.


AI can help find illegal opioid sellers online. And wildlife traffickers. And counterfeits.

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An estimated 130 people die from opioid-related drug overdoses each day in the United States, and 2 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2018. This public health crisis has left officials scrambling for ways to cut down on illegal sales of these controlled substances, including online sales. Now the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is investing in an artificial intelligence-based tool to track how "digital drug dealers" and illegal internet pharmacies market and sell opioids (though online transactions are likely not a large share of overall illegal sales). New AI-based approaches to clamping down on illegal opioid sales demonstrate how publicly available social media and internet data -- even the stuff you post -- can be used to find illegal transactions initiated online. It could also be used to track just about anything else, too: The researcher commissioned by NIDA to build this tool, UC San Diego professor Timothy Mackey, told Recode the same approach could be used to find online transactions associated with illegal wildlife traffickers, vaping products, counterfeit luxury products, and gun sales.


The Top 10 futuristic advances that happened in the last decade

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What are the biggest technological advances of the last decade? You may already be using some tech innovations like Siri and AI. Others haven't yet become a part of regular everyday life, like self-driving autonomous vehicles, CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) or augmented reality. What inventions and innovations do you hope to see in the next decade? 'Filling in the missing pieces': How AI is transforming drug discovery, development and innovation


Developments in Artificial Intelligence for Mental Health Care

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Advances in artificial intelligence have considered computers to help doctors in diagnosing disease and help screen patients' vital signs from any area. Significant advances have been made in artificial intelligence that will soon affect the manner in which mental health care is practiced in everyday clinical settings. The outcome will be increasingly individualized treatment integrating both traditional and evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities, progressively viable and more cost-effective medicines of numerous mental health issues, and improved results. In Europe, the WHO assessed that 44.3 million individuals suffer from depression and 37.3 million endure with anxiety. Diagnosis of mental health disorders depend on an age-old method that can be subjective and unreliable, says paper co-creator Brita Elvevåg, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Tromsø, Norway.


How Artificial Intelligence is Improving Assistive Technology - The Tech Edvocate

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The advances in technology could mean more for society than just new educational technology and virtual reality video games. People with disabilities are finding innovative ways to put artificial intelligence to work with their current conditions. As the science improves, assistive technology will continue producing new and improved platforms to help create a better standard of living for those individuals. Are you interested in the myriad of ways that assistive technology is changing with the improved status of artificial intelligence? These four examples should give you a great idea of what's possible when you integrate these two fields.


How artificial intelligence provided early warnings of the Wuhan virus

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During the kind of virus outbreak that China and other nations are now contending with, time is of the essence. The earlier the warning, the better the chance to contain the contagion. One problem, though, is that governments are sometimes reticent to share information. Such was the case in 2002 and 2003, when Chinese authorities were accused of covering up the SARS epidemic that eventually claimed over 740 lives around the world. With the current outbreak, involving a coronavirus that originated in Wuhan and has so far taken over 40 lives, the Chinese government is being more transparent, as Germany's health minister noted to Bloomberg yesterday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Are Poised to Revolutionize Asthma Care - Pulmonology Advisor

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The advent of large data sets from many sources (big data), machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to revolutionize asthma care on both the investigative and clinical levels, according to an article published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. During 15-minute clinic visits, only a short amount of time is spent understanding and treating what is a complex disease, and only a fraction of the necessary data is captured in the electronic health record. "Our patients and the pace of data growth are compelling us to incorporate insights from Big Data to inform care," the researchers posit. "Predictive analytics, using machine learning and artificial intelligence has revolutionized many industries," including the healthcare industry. When used effectively, big data, in conjunction with electronic health record data, can transform the patient's healthcare experience.