This text is part of the special section Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity
In the field of health, artificial intelligence (AI) will be used in particular to detect diseases earlier and find new treatments. More and more companies are collaborating with the healthcare community to implement the medicine of tomorrow. Overview of the different initiatives.
For Laurent Tillement, AI is used to use new technologies to serve patients. “The objective is to improve disease prevention,” summarizes the director of AI and health partnerships at the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence (Mila).
The organization announced several partnerships, including one with MoCA Cognition to fight Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Mila has also partnered with iMediSync to advance artificial intelligence in mental health, and with Lixa to address antimicrobial resistance.
“There is a lot of information to take into account. During a visit, a doctor may not have the time to go through all this information, but could have a tool to support him in this care,” says Mr. Tillement.
Helping healthcare professionals better interpret certain data can also contribute to disease prevention. This is what Mila is working on with MoCA Cognition. The latter has set up a program to detect Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage. “But on its own, the test cannot completely predict whether the patient really has the disease,” emphasizes Ziad Nasreddine, neurologist and president of MoCA Cognition. So, a person could instead suffer from depression, or simply have sleeping problems.
By adding additional analyses, including blood tests to detect biomarkers, a diagnosis is made more precisely. Mila and MoCA Cognition are working to develop a tool that uses AI to determine which cognitive performance patterns indicate the presence or absence of Alzheimer’s, continues Mr. Nasreddine.
The implementation of AI is also taking place at a broader level in health. This is what the IVADO consortium, which is led by the University of Montreal with four university partners, is working to do. Its mission is to build and promote “robust, reasoned and responsible” AI.
In July, IVADO announced a collaboration with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) to develop AI in the health sector. The objective is to set up a system called PACS-AI, to Picture Archive and Communication System, explains Luc Vinet, general director of IVADO and professor of physics at the University of Montreal. ” We want [jumeler le système d’archivage et de transmission d’images] using AI to compare data for the benefit of health and implement this widely in hospitals,” he summarizes.
“The whole strength of AI comes from the fact that we can analyze quantities of information much more powerfully that the brain cannot assimilate,” he adds. In particular, it will be possible to identify cancer cells more quickly than with an examination using the human eye. And this, with the aim of providing care more quickly and increasing patients’ chances of survival. “It applies to all kinds of other pathologies. We will be able to detect them with more certainty, and prepare treatments,” continues Mr. Vinet.
Mr. Nasreddine agrees. “If we detect Alzheimer’s disease early, it will help treat people more quickly. And this will allow them to remain independent for longer with cognition that will decline more slowly than if we spotted them later,” he says.
Challenges and opportunities
For Mr. Tillement, the main challenge today remains access to information. “When you’re sick, it shouldn’t be a shame. But access to data is difficult,” he emphasizes. However, better access would promote quicker treatment, he believes. “And this would make it possible to have a doctor who is more certain of his diagnoses,” he adds.
For his part, Mr. Nasreddine is of the opinion that the digitization of existing tools remains a major problem. “The new tests we have developed are now electronic. This allows data extraction which will go quickly into an anonymous database to be able to analyze the information in a more significant way,” he believes.
While AI comes with its share of questions, the benefits of such technology in medicine far outweigh it. “It’s crucial to work on safety. But if there is a sector where the benefits are obvious for the population, it is health. By collaborating, businesses are sure to benefit the most and as quickly as possible.”
This content was produced by the Special Publications team at Duty, relating to marketing. The writing of the Duty did not take part.