Artificial intelligence applied in the diagnosis of diseases

Artificial intelligence is found in every aspect of daily life; even in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple pathologies. How does it work?

Last update: 26 September, 2022

The diagnosis of diseases has always been carried out by trained health personnel. However, technological programs have advanced in recent years, being able to serve as support. We will delve a little more about artificial intelligence applied in the diagnosis of diseases.

Artificial intelligence and medicine have been linked for many years. In fact, multiple studies establish that this type of program can be used in almost all fields of human health. However, its specific use to diagnose diseases has not yet been fully explored.

A group of experts from Birmingham concluded that artificial intelligence could be applied in the diagnosis of diseases. In fact, it is believed that it could outperform humans in identifying certain pathologies.

What is artificial intelligence?

First, it is essential to define what artificial intelligence or AI is. In simple terms, AI is a set of algorithms that try to replicate the cognitive abilities of the human being. Although it seems like a distant technology, we use it every day without even noticing it.

Common functions, such as facial unlocking on mobile phones or voice assistants, are thanks to AI. This technology is also applied in agriculture, transportation, education and finance.

In the medical field there chatbot that automatically ask the symptoms to diagnose pathologies. In this way, it is possible to know if you suffer from a common disease, such as pneumonia.

AI can be simple, everyday application for unlocking a phone, for example. But it can also be complex and analyze huge amounts of data.

What is the deep learning?

Today there are multiple forms of artificial intelligence. The most used in the diagnosis of diseases is the deep learning.

This is just a branch of the machine learningthat allows machines to learn automatically without the need to be programmed. In this sense, the systems will be able to interpret a series of data to make predictions.

With the deep Learning, computers learn by themselves. They do this through multiple pattern recognition.

The main feature is the use of a system of artificial neurons at different levels. In simple terms, the program understands a given datum at the initial level. Then you pass it to a higher level, where it is combined with other data to produce more complex information.

Can artificial intelligence diagnose diseases?

Having a little clearer the concepts of AI and deep learning, we can explain in more detail the role of artificial intelligence in disease diagnosis. Recently, the first literature review on the subject was published in the journal The Lancet Digital Health.

The investigation was carried out in the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Participants reviewed nearly 20,500 articles, although less than 1% met the inclusion criteria. Nevertheless, they were able to conclude that the AI ​​was capable of detecting pathologies with the same precision as man.

Diseases diagnosed with AI ranged from cancers to vision problems. The experts analyzed a total of 14 studies, through which they determined that AI diagnosed the disease in 87% of cases. What would exceed the medical staff, which was in a sensitivity index of 86%.

For its part, the technology was able to identify a healthy person in 93% of cases. Health personnel were also outperformed in this regard, reaching only 91%.

Other studies on AI and health

The number of studies involving artificial intelligence in disease diagnosis has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact, it was even implemented in the diagnosis and treatment of emerging pathologies, such as COVID-19.

A study published in International Journal of Biological Sciences showed that AI was used in image analysis for the diagnosis of COVID-19. In this way, the process was accelerated and patient care was streamlined in the midst of a pandemic.

On the other hand, an article in the magazine Current Oncology determined that AI is used in the diagnosis of different types of cancer. In fact, artificial intelligence-assisted screening techniques for colorectal cancer represent a crucial step in reducing the incidence of neoplasia.

Cardiology has also benefited from AI. This technology has become a fundamental tool for the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. This is because it more accurately analyzes an echocardiogram, for example.

AI has more speed for reading images, which speeds up diagnostic processes.

A technology that still needs to be perfected

The results of the first literature review and other studies on the application of artificial intelligence in the diagnosis of diseases are promising. Nevertheless, it is a recent technology that needs to be perfected to reduce the probability of errors and biases.

For its part, the absence of verified and reliable studies on the application of this technology hinder its progress. In this sense, it only remains to wait a few years and see how scientific findings evolve to be able to count on AI in any health center in the world.

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