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clinical medicine

Artificial-intelligence tools aim to tame the coronavirus literature


New AI technologies are helping scientists to sort through the wealth of COVID-19 papers -- hopefully hastening the research process.Credit: Adapted from Getty The COVID-19 literature has grown in much the same way as the disease's transmission: exponentially. But a fast-growing set of artificial-intelligence (AI) tools might help researchers and clinicians to quickly sift through the literature. Driven by a combination of factors -- including the availability of a large collection of relevant papers, advances in natural-language processing (NLP) technology and the urgency of the pandemic itself -- these tools use AI to find the studies that are most relevant to the user, and in some cases to extract specific findings from the results. Beyond the current pandemic, such tools could help to bridge fields by making it easier to identify solutions from other disciplines, says Amalie Trewartha, one of the team leads for the literature-search tool COVIDScholar, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. The tools are still in development, and their utility is largely unproven.

Zipline drones deliver supplies and PPE to US hospitals

BBC News - Technology

Drone firm Zipline has been given the go-ahead to deliver medical supplies and personal protective equipment to hospitals in North Carolina. The firm will be allowed to use drones on two specified routes after the Federal Aviation Administration granted it an emergency waiver. It is the first time the FAA has allowed beyond-line-of-sight drone deliveries in the US. Experts say the pandemic could help ease some drone-flight regulations. Zipline, which has been negotiating with the FAA, wants to expand to other hospitals and eventually offer deliveries to people's homes.

'Like a science experiment': A New York family learns the limits of coronavirus tests

Reuters: U.S. News

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After a week or so sick in bed in their New York City apartment in March, members of the Johnson-Baruch family were convinced they had been stricken by the novel coronavirus. Subsequent test results left them with more questions than answers. Tests both for the virus itself and for the antibodies the immune system produces to fight the infection are becoming more widely available, but they are not perfect. For Maree Johnson-Baruch, her husband, Jason Baruch, and their two teenage daughters, their experience ran the gamut. They all became sick around the same time with the same symptoms.

Drone-to-door medicines trial takes flight in Ireland

BBC News - Technology

A drone company that had to abandon its fast-food delivery tests has partnered with Ireland's health authority to deliver prescriptions instead. Manna Aero is working with the Health Service Executive to deliver medicines and other essential supplies to vulnerable people in the small rural town of Moneygall. The company's trial uses autonomous drones made in Wales. And it is looking at the possibility of testing in the UK within weeks. The UK has already announced a test of drones to carry supplies to the Isle of Wight during the pandemic.

Worth the cost? A closer look at the da Vinci robot's impact on prostate cancer surgery


Urology fellow, Jeremy Fallot, and nurse, Shauna Harnedy, assist in robotic surgery by Ruban Thanigasalam (out of view) in Sydney, Australia.Credit: Ken Leanfore for Nature Loved by surgeons and patients alike for its ease of use and faster recovery times, the da Vinci surgical robot is less invasive than conventional procedures, and lacks the awkwardness of laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. But the robot's US$2-million price tag and negligible effect on cancer outcomes is sparking concern that it's crowding out more affordable treatments. There are more than 5,500 da Vinci robots globally, manufactured by California-based tech giant, Intuitive. The system is used in a range of surgical procedures, but its biggest impact has been in urology, where it has a market monopoly on robot-assisted radical prostatectomies (RARP), the removal of the prostate and surrounding tissues to treat localized cancer. Uptake in the United States, Europe, Australia, China and Japan for performing this procedure has been rapid.

Whose coronavirus strategy worked best? Scientists hunt most effective policies


Scientists are scrambling to work out what effect specific measures, such as social distancing, have in slowing the spread of COVID-19.Credit: Ivan Romano/Getty Hong Kong seems to have given the world a lesson in how to effectively curb COVID-19. With a population of 7.5 million, it has reported just 4 deaths. Researchers studying Hong Kong's approach have already found that swift surveillance, quarantine and social-distancing measures, such as the use of face masks and school closures, helped to cut coronavirus transmission -- measured by the average number of people each infected person infects, or R -- to close to the critical level of 1 by early February. Working out the effectiveness of the unprecedented measures implemented worldwide to limit the spread of the coronavirus is now one of scientists' most pressing questions. Researchers hope that, ultimately, they will be able to accurately predict how adding and removing control measures affects transmission rates and infection numbers.

Machine Learning


After years of development, machine learning methods have matured enough to be used in clinical medicine. In 2018 the FDA approved software to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, and the methods are rapidly making their way into other applications for image analysis, natural language processing, EHR data mining, drug discovery, and more. JAMA is proud to be a primary forum for the work of interdisciplinary groups demonstrating the use of machine learning methods for clinical medicine and health care. To understand the work read JAMA's Users' Guide to the Medical Literature How to Read Articles That Use Machine Learning, authored by Google Health scientists, and an accompanying commentary. See also JAMA Network's Health Informatics collection.

Artificial Intelligence Is Not Ready For The Intricacies Of Radiology


Radiology is one of the most essential fields in clinical medicine. Experts in this field are specialists in deciphering and diagnosing disease based on various imaging modalities, ranging from ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), and x-rays. Studies have shown that the use of radiology in clinical practice has exponentially grown over the years: at the Mayo Clinic, between the years 1999 to 2010, use of CT scans increased by 68%, MRI use increased by 85%, and overall use of imaging modalities for diagnostic purposes increased by 75%, all numbers that have likely continued to rise, and indicate the sheer demand and growth of this robust field. A unique proposal that has become prominent over the last few years to help alleviate this increased demand is the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) technology into this field. Simply put, the premise of AI as an addition to the practice of radiology is straightforward, and has been envisioned in two main ways: 1) a system that can be programmed with pre-defined criteria and algorithms by expert radiologists, which can then be applied to new, straightforward clinical situations, or 2) deep learning methods, where the AI system relies on complex machine learning and uses neural-type networks to learn patterns via large volumes of data and previous encounters; this can then be used to interpret even the most complicated and abstract images.

Your doctor may be playing medical video games at work. That could be good for your health

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Doctors can perfect their craft playing Level Ex medical video games, and even earn continuing education credits towards maintaining their licenses. Can playing video games be a prescription for good health? Two to three times a week, the UCSF/Stanford-trained internist and founder of the Turntable Health primary care clinic, is on his smartphone playing video games. "People who are good at video games are actually good at some aspects of clinical medicine." Instead, ZDoggMD, as he's known by his pseudonym as a producer of healthcare videos and live shows, is among the 400,000 medical professionals practicing the craft of medicine through a series of games from Level Ex, a Chicago videogames developer whose titles are specially designed for doctors, med students and other healthcare providers.

Robots are coming to a hospital near you

Fast Company

Hospitals and medical practices are already using a fair amount of automation. Some hospitals are set up for delivery robots to open remote-control doors and even use elevators to get around the building. Robots can also assist with more complex tasks, like surgery. Their participation can range from simply helping stabilize a surgeon's tools all the way to autonomously performing the entire procedure. Perhaps the most famous robotic surgery system lets a surgeon operate full-size, ergonomically friendly equipment as a remote control to direct extremely tiny instruments what to do inside a patient's body, often through extremely small incisions.