Scientists from tech giant Google and its health-tech subsidiary Verily have invented a pioneering method of analyzing a person’s heart disease risk Using an AI algorithm.
Google algorithms can predict heart disease by looking into our eyes and deducing data by analyzing scans of the back of a patient’s eye. This test is much easier and faster since it doesn’t include a blood test. However, the new method has to properly be tested before being deployed.
The reason the eye is so important for research is that the rear interior wall of the eye is full of blood vessels which can be used to judge a person’s overall health. Doctors are able to gather information such as blood pressure, their age and whether they smoke, which are all important in determining someone’s cardiovascular health.
A paper describing the work was on Monday in the Nature journal Biomedical Engineering.
Using the retinal image, Google says it was able to quantify this association and 70% of the time accurately predicts which patient within five years would experience a heart attack or other major cardiovascular event, and which patient would not. Those results were in line with testing methods that require blood be drawn to measure a patient’s cholesterol.
To train the algorithm, Google and Verily’s scientists used machine learning to analyze a medical dataset of nearly 300,000 patients. This information included eye scans and general medical data.