AI is currently one of the fastest-growing technologies with a wide range of applications that can help advance different industries. The technology has been making its way into medicine, where it has gone to extremes such as being used to identify signs of a disease before it manifests.
University of Pittsburgh researchers recently published the findings of a study through which they created a machine learning algorithm that makes it possible for artificial intelligence to detect osteoarthritis signs even before a person is diagnosed with the disease. The AI can detect signs that are too subtle for a trained radiologist to notice. It can achieve this incredible feat by reading an MRI taken years before the symptoms of osteoarthritis begin.
The findings from the research were published in the PNAS journal. The findings indicate that AI is a powerful predictive tool that may be used to provide a leg-up against diseases. It provides a strong basis for the development of preventative treatments that could save many people from the trouble of suffering from the disease and even having to go through joint replacement surgery.
The gold standard for diagnosing arthritis is X-ray. As the cartilage deteriorates, the space between the bones decreases,” stated Dr. Kenneth Urish, one of the professors who co-authored the study.
The need to focus on preventative treatment
Dr. Urish also pointed out that the problem with current approaches to diseases such as osteoarthritis is that by the time the doctors notice arthritis through the X-rays, the damage is already done. He noted that a better approach to the condition is to arrest the disease before it damages the cartilage.
The researchers were able to achieve the study’s impressive results by using AI to identify patients who have exhibited signs of cartilage damage at the start of the study. Doctors often miss signs, especially when the patterns are too subtle, but the AI can notice those patterns. This approach can thus be used to identify people who are likely to suffer from the disease, and then physicians can take a preventative approach to treatment.