London, Ont. researchers examining use of A.I. to diagnose COVID-19 through lung ultrasounds

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A research team at London’s Lawson Health Research Institute is working to determine whether trained artificial intelligence can be used to diagnose COVID-19 by comparing lung ultrasound scans of positive patients to those without the disease.

As part of the project, team members will train an artificial neural network, designed to loosely mimic how brains compute, to detect small patterns in the ultrasounds that humans wouldn’t otherwise see, said researcher Dr. Robert Arntfield.

Researchers say that ultrasound scans of patients with COVID-19-related pneumonia produce a “highly abnormal imaging pattern,” but one that isn’t unique to the disease.

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“We’re hoping to establish whether there is a uniqueness to what COVID-19 puts on the lungs as opposed to other similar diseases, whether it be influenza or other causes of pneumonia,” said Arntfield, who is also medical director of LHSC’s Critical Care Trauma Centre, in an interview Wednesday with 980 CFPL’s Devon Peacock.

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Such a breakthrough would, in theory, allow health-care workers to link COVID-19 to a patients’ lung problems much more quickly compared to a standard swab test, he says.

The A.I. technology being utilized is not entirely unlike the A.I.


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