Google Can Predict Heart Disease By Looking Into Your Eyes

Google Can Predict Heart Disease By Looking Into Your Eyes

A new robot created by Google reads your retinas to assess your risk of heart disease.

Verily, a health-tech subsidiary owned by Google, has come up with a test that can diagnose heart disease by simply analyzing a person's eyes.

It then uses this data to analyse your risk of suffering a life-threatening cardiac event, such as a heart attack. When comparing the eyes of different patients, the software was able to accurately recognize which patient was healthy and which one had suffered from a cardiovascular disease 70 percent of the time.

"Using deep learning algorithms trained on data from 284,335 patients, we were able to predict cardiovascular risk factors from retinal images with surprisingly high accuracy for patients from two independent datasets of 12,026 and 999 patients", Lily Peng from the Google brain team wrote in a blog post. The rear interior wall of the eye is full of blood vessels that reflect the body's overall health.

The researchers are very optimistic about the application of their new software to the medical field. Other data helping to determine cardiovascular risks are also available, according to the researchers. These numbers are encouraging, as this rate is only slightly lower than the results obtained through a blood test (72%).

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The hope is that this system could be used in hospitals across the country to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations caused by false positives, and prevent heart attacks where at-risk patients are sent home because doctors have failed to spot problems.

'This paper demonstrates that deep learning applied to a retinal fundus image, a photograph that includes the blood vessels of the eye, can frequently predict these risk factors - from smoking status to blood pressure - as well as predict the occurrence of a future major cardiovascular event on par with current measures'.

The algorithm used scans of a patient's eye to build a picture of their general health, a technique which is already used in medical research.

She told USA Today: 'It's not just when it's going to be used, but how it's going to be used.

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