Will Google save your life?

We’ve all spent hours Googling symptoms, self-diagnosing ourselves and getting it spectacularly wrong but did you know Google might actually be able to save your life one day?

Well, sort of. Google AI has teamed up with Verily Life Sciences to create a pretty cool new system.

According to a paper published this week in Nature Biomedical Engineering journal, they’ve developed a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that can check whether you are at risk of heart disease just by scanning your eyes.

The scan can detect your blood pressure, gender, age and even whether you’re a smoker to predict whether you’re more likely than average to be struck down by heart disease.

If this sounds a bit like science fiction then the stats should persuade you. The algorithm was correct in 70% of cases, which is only 2% lower than your normal blood test!

Opticians have been picking up health issues for years with high cholesterol and diabetes among the many conditions they can spot just by studying your retina.

Dr. Michael McConnell, Head of Cardiovascular Health Innovations at Verily, explains more but cautions that more research needs to take place before we all get too excited.

“The opportunity to one day readily understand the health of a patient’s blood vessels, key to cardiovascular health, with a simple retinal image could lower the barrier to engage in critical conversations on preventive measures to protect against a cardiovascular event.

“More work must be done to develop and validate these findings on larger patient cohorts before this can arrive in a clinical setting.”

With heart disease the leading cause of death globally, the idea that a non-invasive test could provide a crucial warning sounds pretty amazing to us!

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