Written by 4:18 pm AI, Innovation, Medical

### Efficient Initiation of Glioma Diagnosis and Treatment with AI

Radiologists can learn from high-performing machine learning systems but tools with a lack of expla…

Can artificial intelligence revolutionize the diagnosis of CNS tumors, known to be among the most severe medical conditions? Are radiologists being trained to leverage these advanced tools for quicker and more accurate tumor identification? Do these devices provide the necessary data, and do professionals have confidence in their efficacy? Will these innovations truly enhance patient outcomes?

Recent research indicates a positive outlook on these questions, albeit with some notable limitations. High-performing machine learning (ML) systems can indeed assist radiologists in improving their diagnostic accuracy. However, the challenge lies in the interpretability of ML outputs, which can hinder seamless integration into clinical practice.

In essence, the effectiveness of these tools will drive their adoption and progression within the field. Surprisingly, even less efficient AI tools can offer valuable insights to healthcare providers.

Gliomas, originating from glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS), pose significant treatment challenges and can have dire consequences. Glioblastoma, a prevalent form of brain cancer, exhibits a dismal 6.9% 5-year survival rate.

The realm of digital health, valued at over $1 billion and rapidly expanding, is witnessing AI’s transformative impact, particularly in medical imaging. Tasks such as rapid image analysis, segmentation, registration, processing, and classification are increasingly being automated using AI algorithms, including machine learning. Nonetheless, concerns persist regarding workflow integration, data integrity, and the physician’s role in decision-making.

A collaborative effort involving researchers from TU Darmstadt, the Universities of Cambridge and Merck, and the Klinikum rechts der Isar at the University of Munich underscores the role of software systems in augmenting radiologists’ capabilities. Their study delves into the implications of ML techniques on professional development, emphasizing the importance of comprehensibility and transparency in interpreting ML results. These insights extend beyond radiology to encompass diverse domains utilizing AI tools like ChatGPT.

Spearheaded by tech experts Sara Ellenrieder and Peter Buxmann, the research initiative explores the utilization of ML-based decision support systems in medical imaging, particularly in brain tumor segmentation from MRI scans. The focus is on empowering healthcare professionals to leverage these systems for enhanced performance and confidence. By evaluating various ML system performance levels and analyzing the impact of result interpretation, the study aims to optimize oncologists’ utilization of AI technologies for improved patient care.

In a study involving the manual segmentation of 690 brain tumors, medical professionals were tasked with tumor segmentation in MRI images both with and without ML-based decision support. Different groups were provided access to ML techniques varying in functionality and precision. Through “think-aloud” protocols, interviews, and quantitative performance metrics, the researchers gathered subjective and objective data during the evaluation.

The results highlight the potential benefits of highly effective ML systems in enhancing healthcare professionals’ diagnostic accuracy. Radiologists demonstrated improved performance when aided by ML systems with interpretable outputs. Conversely, reliance on opaque ML outputs led to a decline in diagnostic proficiency. By elucidating the rationale behind ML outputs, radiologists could learn more effectively and avoid misconceptions. Notably, healthcare providers could even glean insights from errors generated by less effective but transparent AI systems.

According to Buxmann, the future of human-AI collaboration lies in developing transparent AI systems that empower end-users to comprehend and learn from AI outputs, facilitating informed decision-making and improved patient outcomes.

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Last modified: December 29, 2023
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