Jan. 2, 2020 -- As you've seen, artificial intelligence holds great promise for change in the health care field. In many ways it already is creating that change. Here are some examples of AI's impact today. 


An Israeli company called Zebra Medical Vision uses AI to identify women who have tell-tale signs of the bone disease osteoporosis but don’t know it. Zebra’s computer algorithm crawls through X-rays in electronic medical records looking for small fractures in the spine’s vertebrae that may have gone unnoticed but are characteristic of the disease. Once identified, women can get treatment before they suffer a devastating bone break.


BIONIK Laboratories, in Toronto and Watertown, MA, uses robotics and AI to help patients recover from stroke. The digital algorithm detects arm motions that patients are struggling with and devises movements that the robotic arm then helps them practice. Sensors enable the system to adjust in real time, allowing the patient to perform many more recorded movements per hour-long session than with a human therapist alone.


A screening system developed by a California-based company called Eyenuk Inc. can detect diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Instead of waiting months for an appointment with a specialist, the EyeArt AI Screening System can deliver a diagnosis in less than a minute. The company is hoping to receive approval this fall from the FDA to begin marketing its system.


SuppAI is a new, free algorithm that allows doctors and consumers to search for drug interactions with nutritional supplements. The tool was built on top of Semantic Scholar, an AI-based search engine that includes 175 million scientific papers. Searches can identify interactions between ginseng and antidepressants, for example, and show that in some cases, the combination can cause mania. With ginkgo, the search engine reveals that there are 80 possible interactions with other drugs, some quite dangerous.


Other projects under development include two at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital—one to identify people at risk for developing major depression so they can enroll in prevention trials and another to predict optimal treatment for people with depression.

Show Sources

Zebra Medical Vision, Israel.

Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, “The Value of Automated Diabetic Retinopathy Screening with the EyeArt System: A Study of More Than 100,000 Consecutive Encounters from People with Diabetes.”

Bionik Laboratories, Toronto.

Eyenuk Inc., Woodland Hills, CA.

John O’Brien, Strange Brew Stratetgies.

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