AI Technology IDs Genetic Diseases by Analyzing Facial Photos

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Certain genetic diseases can be detected by new artificial intelligence technology that analyzes a photo of a person's face.
Certain genetic diseases can be detected by new artificial intelligence technology that analyzes a photo of a person's face.

HealthDay News — Certain genetic diseases can be detected by new artificial intelligence technology that analyzes a photo of a person's face, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in Nature Medicine.

The DeepGestalt technology was better than doctors at identifying a range of genetic syndromes, CNN reported. Examples of conditions that can be identified by the technology include the nervous system disorder Angelman syndrome, in which patients have a wide mouth and widely spaced teeth, and strabismus, where the eyes point in different directions.

The deep learning algorithm was created by the artificial intelligence and precision medicine company FDNA using 17,000 facial images of patients with more than 200 distinct genetic syndromes.

While it could prove useful in personalized care, the researchers warned that the technology could be used by insurers and employers to discriminate against people who have preexisting conditions or developing medical conditions, CNN reported.

Several authors are employees of FDNA.

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