AI creates breakthroughs in Alzheimer's and beyond FEATURE

Artificial intelligence could be the key in drug discovery, health diagnoses, and cancer detection.

Data can be abundant in healthcare, but many times it is incomplete or in unusable formats. According to Healthcare IT News, artificial intelligence is the next frontier of healthcare, helping professionals collect data and process it to help make better decisions. This is true in the case of Verge Genomics, a company that is changing the way of traditional drug research.

Verge Genomics CEO Alice Zhang told Newsweek that her company plans to find treatments for neurological diseases using AI.  Right now, drug researchers who are looking to cure Alzheimer's or Parkinson's are looking at just one gene at a time, but interactions between networks of genes causes such diseases. Zhang was able to write software that finds these networks of genes—an algorithm based on Google's search engine that searches billions of connections to find the proper results.

Healthcare is changing rapidly due to these technological advancements. Another company, Atomwise, uses machine learning to study how drug molecules interact with target molecules in the body—possibly speeding up the discovery of effective drugs. 

Melissa Rowley writes that scientists and research labs across the United States worked together to create a detailed map of the circuitry of the human brain. This Human Connectome Project was built from advanced scanners and AI, and has learned 100 new regions of the brain.

Elucid Labs is also using AI to detect skin cancer. An AI-powered imaging system can see changes in the concentration of eumelanin and hemoglobin; two indicators of melanoma.

The world of breast cancer detection is changing as well. Cyrcadia Health is using wearable devices, sensors, and predictive analysis in the ITBra, a bra patients can wear. The ITBra has two breast sensor patches that can detect the circadian temperature changes in breast tissue. When the data from this is collected, machine learning algorithms and AI can identify any abnormal patterns in breast cellular behavior. These can be some of the earlier indicators of breast cancer.

Cisco collaborated with Cyrcadia Health and others to create a documentary called Detected, where viewers follow the journey of CEO Rob Royea taking the ITBra from breakthrough to possible mass-scale technology. You can learn more about the documentary here and also check out the trailer below.

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About Stephanie Chan

Stephanie Ellen Chan is the Editorial and Video Producer at Cisco. She has a passion for writing about the intersection of culture, media, art, and technology.