Patient mortality could be predicted through medical scans of organs, a new study finds.
Researchers were able to use a computer to analyze CT chest scans of patients’ organs to predict when they would die with almost 70 percent accuracy. Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Report on May 10 and they are continuing their research by conducting studies on 12,000 participants.
Dr. Luke Oakden-Rayner, the lead author of the study and a radiologist in South Australia, believes the findings could advance the field of precision medicine, defined as “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person.”
The potential of precision medicine, according to the researchers, “relies upon the discovery and use of good biomarkers for health and disease.”
Experts usually use CT chest scans to check for biomarkers like tumors because doctors can see key organs and tissues, like the lungs, heart and major blood vessels. The study authors believe radiology has an important part to play in this arena.
“[…] we propose that images derived from routine radiological testing have been largely ignored in the context of precision medicine, and motivate the use of powerful new machine-learning techniques applied to radiological images as the basis for novel and useful biomarker discovery.”
“Recent advances in the field of medical image analysis have shown that machine-detectable image features can approximate the descriptive power of biopsy, microscopy, and even DNA analysis for a number of pathologies,” they add.
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