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Find out how to tackle cardiovascular disease with the help of AI

Aug 20, 2019, 6:38 am

The University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Center is taking initiatives to help the people who are at the risk of cardiovascular disease. The Center has teamed up with Google.org with a donation of $1 million to give the patients more personalized advice and support via AI.

Heart and cardiovascular diseases have been a major challenge across the globe for a long time. Most of the patients die without any proper treatment as they do not have much information regarding the symptoms of this disease. Without any proper measures taken beforehand, the risk for the patients increases drastically. According to a google blog report, one out of six people In Australia is affected by cardiovascular disease.

What is a cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease can be referred to several health problems, e.g. heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, heart valve problems, etc. This disease mainly affects the heart and blood vessels. This is the most common cause of death around the world nowadays. Unhealthy lifestyle and food habits are the main cause of cardiovascular disease. Other health conditions can also trigger CVD ( cardiovascular disease).

CVD: A big issue

In a Google blog interview, Clara Chow, professor of Medicine and Academic Director at Westmead expressed her concerns against CVD and mentioned the horrifying deaths caused by CVD. She also mentioned that these deaths are highly preventable if measures are taken beforehand.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature death and disability worldwide. In Australia cardiovascular disease affects approximately 4.2 million people, has resulted in more than 1 million hospitalization and caused 1 in 3 deaths in 2016.- Clara Chow,professor of Medicine and Academic Director at Westmead on CVD

Goal and Funding

Clara Chow said in a Google blog interview that they aim to encourage people to adopt healthy habit e. g. Diets and exercises to fight against CVD. They will also provide them with the health services required. They already have developed mobile health text message programs which can be customized for individuals, said Dr. Harry Klimis who is a cardiologist and a Westmead Ph.D. student.

We now plan to use machine learning and AI to keep improving how we support participants and help them self monitor measures like cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, physical activity, diet and smoking. – Dr. Harry Klimis via Google blog post.

Google.org has granted the Westmead team a donation of $1 million to create digital tools and offer personalized advice from the physicians without meeting face to face. Professor Chow also sated in the blog that they will initially link the data from the hospitals and clinics to create the customized programs for the individuals. The system will also learn from there and update itself.

How does AI help to tackle CVD?

If a patient is hospitalized with certain CVD symptoms, the program will automatically mark the patient being at high risk and thereafter he or she will be added to the mobile health program. Dr. Klimis informs about the activities of the program via a blog post.

An example would be if ‘John’ went to the emergency room with chest pain and had type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. After being assessed and treated, he could be flagged as a patient at high risk of heart attack and added to the mobile health prevention program. The AI program would learn from John’s activities and deliver health advice via SMS or through an app. If John was less active at a particular time of day, the program might register this and prompt him to take a 5-minute walk. 

The project is quite challenging as it will deal with a wide range of information collected from the users. The program has already gathered information of over 3000 people and is working on the outcome. Dr. Klimis thinks that this collected data will play a major role in building an AI model for the project.

The Westmead team is optimistic about the results generated by the program. If everything goes smoothly, they hope that the AI program could help to fight CVD by providing people health advice and lifestyle routine without the frequent visit of clinics and hospitals. Professor Chow hopes that this program will cut down medical costs and make healthcare more accessible to the common people.

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