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Google AI May Improve Cancer Detection

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An international research team in Google's health research department has developed a system, using artificial intelligence, that may eventually surpass radiologists and health professionals in detection of certain cancers. 'Nature,' the science and technology journal, reports that the trained AI barely surpassed humans in detection on breast cancer, and could reduce false positive detection in the future.

Scans from 25,856 women in the United Kingdom and 3,097 women in the United States were used in the development of the AI, with patient data removed before use in the study. The AI then was asked to identify breast cancer in scans that have been proven to be breast cancer. In the study, the AI correctly identified breast cancer more frequently than any human attempting the same task.

However, the AI hasn't solved the problem of breast cancer detection. Most of the images were from a mammography system manufactured by one maker, for instance, and the patients were not identified by anything but age. More research is needed in a broader sample, including more identity factors, to be sure that the results are easily replicated. The AI also has not been tested against any other method of breast cancer detection.

Still, the technology is sure to raise optimistic, if skeptical, eyebrows in the medical community.


Photo: Pixabay

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