Image credit: Richard Wheeler via Wikimedia Commons
By Francie Diep
Maybe you have a fitness tracker. Maybe you’ve gotten your genome sequenced before. Probably your medical records are kept in electronic, instead of paper, form. Now some companies are seeking to combine all those things and more into a talking, personalized, health-advice app. Not sure when to give yourself your next insulin shot after having a croissant for breakfast? You can ask the app. How much exercise should someone with your genetic makeup be getting? The app will give you suggestions.
At least, that’s the goal of the app-makers, who include developers from IBM and a startup called Pathway Genomics. If the app, called Pathway Panorama, works as expected, it will be one of the most detailed and personalized health-advice apps we’ve ever heard of. It will bring an unprecedented amount of information to bear on the advice it gives you.
Pathway Genomics can sequence your DNA and provide an analysis as to what what those jumbled letters mean. Meanwhile, IBM’s artificial intelligence engine, Watson, will make it possible for the app to understand what users are asking it. Watson also is able to read and understand information online, so it will be able to do things like “read” published medical literature to help answer users’ questions. After all, that’s how Watson won Jeopardy, when IBM first introduced it.
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