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The Southern Bell
The Southern Bell

The Power of AI in Brain Tumors

How is AI changing the world for the better?

69 Views | Published February 22, 2024 | Edited February 22, 2024

Layla Daniels

The Southern Bell - Writer
(Layla Daniels) —

In recent years, advances in medical technology have revolutionized the way we view and treat diseases. From new treatments to improved medical diagnosis, the healthcare industry has seen numerous breakthroughs that have improved the lives of countless people around the world. However, there has been one advancement that stands out the most, that being the treatment of brain tumors. Normally doctors diagnose and perform the surgery on the patient. The removal of brain tumors is an extremely arduous process. The surgeon must decide to cut away parts of the brain tissue that is healthy to ensure that the entire tumors are removed or leave healthy tissue with the possibility of leaving sick cells behind possibly reinfecting that area of the brain. To combat this problem scientists in the Netherlands have started using artificial intelligence to choose what to do with the tumor.

A study published in The Nature Journal involves computer scanning segments of the tumor and DNA, then learning the chemical modifications to help make the diagnosis of the type and subtype of the brain tumor. To test the accuracy of the AI there was an experiment that tested frozen tumor samples (around the size of a kernel of corn) from previous brain, cancer operations. The AI accurately diagnoses 45 out of the 50 cases within 40 minutes of genetic sequencing. The other five cases were not diagnosed because the AI found it inconclusive. Then surgeons tested 25 live brain surgeries mostly on children using the standard method of examining tumors. This approach delivered 18 correct diagnoses while seven were unclear. The main concern of using AI is the differences within patients; without representing the entire tumor fewer common forms can be classified incorrectly. The new method is part of a movement toward bringing molecular precision in diagnosing tumors to the forefront of medicine; potentially allowing scientists to develop target treatments that are less damaging to the nervous system. The public has conflicting ideas on this topic. Some believe that having the extra precision from the AI can be an amazing tool that separates people from living their lives to the fullest to being paralyzed, while others would rather trust having their procedure done by a surgeon than AI because of distrust of the new technology.

Overall, the advanced technology benefitseveryone increasing efficiency and access to life-saving information. The use of AI has opened possibilities for the diagnosis of tumors that would have been previously unattainable. Technology comes with potential risks and challenges, but if used responsibly can help improve the lives of thousands of patients. 
Citations: New York Times article published in 2023, 10-11 
The Nature Journal article published October 17, 2023 

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