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Google DeepMind to diagnose eye disease with AI

With DeepMind under its umbrella, Google is planning to teach artificial intelligence how to identify ocular disease. It teamed up with an eye hospital in the United Kingdom to use 1.6 million anonymized eye scans of London patients for the computer training. New York patients with eye problems may be happy to learn that its goal is for a computer program to learn how to pinpoint the signs of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, which are two of the most common kinds of eye disease.

More than 100 million people around the world suffer from macular degeneration from aging and diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, diabetes is the primary cause of blindness among working age individuals, and being diagnosed and receiving treatment early prevents severe visual loss in 98 percent of cases.

Unfortunately, physicians are not perfect at diagnosing ocular disease. They use medical records and patient interviews, but they are still wrong in 10 to 20 percent of cases. Teaching a computer how to diagnose these conditions by scanning millions of documents and records could produce more precise diagnoses. It may also make the process of diagnosis faster.

This is what Google DeepMind and Moorfields Eye Hospital hope to achieve through their partnership, which they announced on July 4. The companies say that loss of sight is estimated to double by 2050, so they hope to build better tools than what are currently being used.

Sometimes the misdiagnosis of a health condition occurs because the physician does not conduct the appropriate tests or fails to interpret medical records or test results accurately. Patients who have been harmed as a result may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what legal remedies they may have.

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