Technology could improve health care access in poor countries.
After a family trip to Afghanistan when he was 15, Chicagoan Abu Qader decided he wanted to do something to improve the country’s medical care. “I knew and saw people and friends and relatives in Afghanistan whose breast cancer wasn’t diagnosed, and it was fatal,” he said. He further noted that the country’s health care system is weak, with a high prevalence of breast cancer and limited options for care. He decided, “I wanted to build something that would help.”
Now 18, a Cornell University freshman, and co-founder of the medical-technology company GliaLab, he is seeking to fulfill that ambition.
What Qader has built is a computer program that uses artificial intelligence, reams of biomedical data and various algorithms to essentially “read” mammogram images, spotting and diagnosing abnormalities quickly and at low cost — a potential boon to developing countries, where access to doctors and health care can be limited. The technology is still in the testing stage, says Qader.
Qader acknowledges that interpreting mammograms is usually the task of radiologists, but his goal is not to replace human physicians, he says, but to help them — particularly in areas, often in low-income countries like Afghanistan, where trained physicians can be scarce. Qader believes his technology can aid doctors by quickly pinpointing diagnoses to allow for earlier and better care. Although there are mammogram machines in Afghanistan there are not enough skilled doctors to read the results, he says. “They have the hardware — it’s only getting cheaper — but not the manpower.”
“Abu’s project uses machine learning technologies to make computers recognize patterns in the imaging data that have diagnostic value,” explains Mert Sabuncu, assistant professor at Cornell’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, in an email. “He achieves this by showing the algorithms a lot of examples of cases where a diagnosis has been confirmed … I think this direction has a great potential and I’m confident Abu and his team can make an impact.”
He’s not the only one who thinks so. After meeting Qader at Google’s I/O developer conference in May 2017, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and chairman Eric Schmidt sent him Twitter shout-outs.
|Read Full Article: Teenager’s Start-Up Tests A High-Tech Way To ‘Read’ Mammograms In Afghanistan : Goats and Soda : NPR|