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A new study revealed that sending selfies to doctors can help in the early diagnosis of heart disease.
The European Society of Cardiology proposed a method of detecting heart disease by examining photographs of a person’s face. Through this method, selfies sent to doctors can be analyzed with AI to quickly diagnose heart disease and determine its stage. The researchers claim that the new method may diagnose heart disease more effectively than current methods.
The method is based on the fact that some observable changes on a patient’s face, such as earlobe creases and skin wrinkling, can be red flags for heart disease.
To develop the AI, the researchers observed 5,796 patients from eight hospitals between July 2017 and March 2019. The patients’ blood vessels were examined through imaging procedures. Then, radiologists reviewed these images to check for narrowed blood vessels and assess the patients’ risk of heart disease. The patients also had photos of their faces taken by trained nurses, and they were interviewed regarding their socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and medical history. This information was used for the training of the AI.
Afterward, the researchers did additional tests on the AI with another 1,013 patients from nine other hospitals.
According to the researchers, their goal is to create an affordable way for people at high risk of heart disease to assess themselves before seeing a doctor. They added that the AI they developed may be used to make a mobile app in the future.
However, the team said that they still need to fine-tune the method to address its limitations. Before it can be widely used, the AI still needs to be tested on other ethnicities. Experts who have reviewed the study agree, saying that the new method must be validated and improved for larger populations. They also pointed out that using the patients’ photos could raise some concerns about their privacy.