Nav: Home

Artificial intelligence predicts patient lifespans

June 01, 2017

A computer's ability to predict a patient's lifespan simply by looking at images of their organs is a step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to new research led by the University of Adelaide.

The research, now published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, has implications for the early diagnosis of serious illness, and medical intervention.

Researchers from the University's School of Public Health and School of Computer Science, along with Australian and international collaborators, used artificial intelligence to analyse the medical imaging of 48 patients' chests. This computer-based analysis was able to predict which patients would die within five years, with 69% accuracy - comparable to 'manual' predictions by clinicians.

This is the first study of its kind using medical images and artificial intelligence.

"Predicting the future of a patient is useful because it may enable doctors to tailor treatments to the individual," says lead author Dr Luke Oakden-Rayner, a radiologist and PhD student with the University of Adelaide's School of Public Health.

"The accurate assessment of biological age and the prediction of a patient's longevity has so far been limited by doctors' inability to look inside the body and measure the health of each organ.

"Our research has investigated the use of 'deep learning', a technique where computer systems can learn how to understand and analyse images.

"Although for this study only a small sample of patients was used, our research suggests that the computer has learnt to recognise the complex imaging appearances of diseases, something that requires extensive training for human experts," Dr Oakden-Rayner says.

While the researchers could not identify exactly what the computer system was seeing in the images to make its predictions, the most confident predictions were made for patients with severe chronic diseases such as emphysema and congestive heart failure.

"Instead of focusing on diagnosing diseases, the automated systems can predict medical outcomes in a way that doctors are not trained to do, by incorporating large volumes of data and detecting subtle patterns," Dr Oakden-Rayner says.

"Our research opens new avenues for the application of artificial intelligence technology in medical image analysis, and could offer new hope for the early detection of serious illness, requiring specific medical interventions."

The researchers hope to apply the same techniques to predict other important medical conditions, such as the onset of heart attacks.

The next stage of their research involves analysing tens of thousands of patient images.
-end-
Media Contacts:

Dr Luke Oakden-Rayner
Radiologist and PhD student
School of Public Health
The University of Adelaide
luke.oakden-rayner@adelaide.edu.au

Professor Lyle Palmer
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology
School of Public Health
The University of Adelaide
lyle.palmer@adelaide.edu.au

University of Adelaide

Related Public Health Articles:

Public health guidelines aim to lower health risks of cannabis use
Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released today with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations, provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks.
Study clusters health behavior groups to broaden public health interventions
A new study led by a University of Kansas researcher has used national health statistics and identified how to cluster seven health behavior groups based on smoking status, alcohol use, physical activity, physician visits and flu vaccination are associated with mortality.
Public health experts celebrate 30 years of CDC's prevention research solutions for communities with health disparities
It has been 30 years since CDC created the Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program, currently a network of 26 academic institutions across the US dedicated to moving new discoveries into the communities that need them.
Public health experts support federally mandated smoke-free public housing
In response to a new federal rule mandating smoke-free policies in federally funded public housing authorities, three public health experts applaud the efforts of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to protect nonsmoking residents from the harmful effects of tobacco exposure.
The Lancet Public Health: UK soft drinks industry levy estimated to have significant health benefits, especially among children
The UK soft drinks industry levy, due to be introduced in April 2018, is estimated to have significant health benefits, especially among children, according to the first study to estimate its health impact, published in The Lancet Public Health.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...