Machine learning could eliminate unnecessary treatments for children with arthritis

ScienceDaily | 2/26/2019 | Staff
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That could now change thanks to a machine learning tool developed by Quaid Morris, a professor of computer science at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto, Dr. Rae Yeung, Professor of Paediatrics, Immunology and Medical Science at the University of Toronto, and their recently-graduated, co-supervised student Simon Eng.

Morris is also faculty in the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and is an inaugural AI Chair by the Canadian Institute for Advancement of Research. Yeung is also the inaugural Hak-Ming and Deborah Chiu Chair in Paediatric Translational Research at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).

Journal - PLOS - Medicine - Researchers - Approach

Writing in the journal PLOS Medicine, the researchers describe a computational approach based on machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence in which the computer learns to recognize recurrent patterns from a sea of data. The algorithm was able to classify patients into seven distinct groups according to the patterns of swollen or painful joints in the body. Moreover, it also accurately predicted which children will go into remission faster and which ones will develop a more severe form of disease.

An estimated 300,000 children are suffering from arthritis in the US alone. While its triggers still remain unclear, the disease occurs when the immune system mistakes the body's own cells for foreign invaders, attacking the lining of the joints to cause swelling, pain and possibly long-lasting damage. There is no cure and the treatment consists of progressively more aggressive and costly medications, starting with anti-inflammatory pain relief drugs, such as ibuprofen, to stronger drugs including methotrexate (a chemotherapy agent), steroids, and biological agents (such as anti-TNF and anti-IL-1) that switch off parts of the immune system.

Stage - Treatment - Children - Effects - Morris

"The final stage of treatment is very effective in some children, but also very expensive, and it's not clear what the long-term effects are," says Morris....
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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