Eyes could reveal heart attack risk

Google AI-can-predict-cardiovascular-problems

It claims that its technology can evaluate scans of the back of the eye and accurately deduce a person's risk of cardiovascular problems against other data, including their age, blood pressure and gender.

By looking for common patterns in images of retinal scans and matching them up with the data in the patients' medical records, one algorithm could determine if someone was a smoker or non-smoker to an accuracy of 71 per cent.

Apparently eyes are not only the window to the soul, but also heart health. It can also tell if they smoke or not. The program taught itself how to analyze eyeballs after using machine learning techniques to pore over more than 284,000 retinal images; while studying, the AI used what UPI describes as a visual "heatmap" to learn which parts of the eye's anatomy contained certain predictive factors.

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To "train" the algorithm, Verily's scientists used machine learning to study medical data from nearly 300k patients - some with cardiovascular issues, some without.

"Given the retinal image of one patient who (up to 5 years) later experienced a major CV event (such as a heart attack) and the image of another patient who did not, our algorithm could pick out the patient who had the CV event 70 percent of the time", she said.

Once the system is perfected, Verily claims that the results could be as accurate as current blood testing methods. The AI made correct predictions on the future risk of heart disease in 70 percent of cases - almost the same accuracy rate as the blood-test method doctors traditionally use, which has a 72 percent accuracy rate. The algorithm used the entire image to quantify the association between the image and the risk of heart attack or stroke, Peng wrote. At some point in the future, AI could be used to identify hosts of different illnesses, without requiring a ton of time-consuming human input.

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