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New AI Model by Google Can Help Detect Diabetic Retinopathy

For this purpose, it recently launched the "Google AI Impact Challenge"

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Google's new AI model to help detect diabetic retinopathy. Pixabay

Google has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model that can detect diabetic retinopathy with a level of accuracy on par with human retinal specialists, the technology giant said.

Google is working on “rolling out this diabetic retinopathy initiative in clinics in India with Verily” — an Alphabet-owned company which works on life sciences research and development, Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

More than 400 million people in the world have diabetes. A third of them have diabetic retinopathy — a complication that can cause permanent blindness.

“Using the new assistive technology, doctors and staff can screen more patients in less time, sparing people from blindness through a more timely diagnosis,” Walker said.

While the blindness can be prevented, diabetic retinopathy often goes undetected because people do not always get screenings.

“In major part, this is due to limited access to eye care specialists and staff capable of screening for the disease. This is a problem that AI can help us solve,” Walker said.

“Deploying this technology in underserved communities that don’t have enough eye specialists could be life-changing for many,” Walker added.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

Google began work on the model in collaboration with eye specialists in India and the US a few years back. They developed an AI system to help doctors analyse images of the back of the eye for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

“The results were promising,” Walker noted, while adding “we should work to make the benefits of AI available to everyone”.

Google has for several years applied AI research and engineering to projects in Asia Pacific with positive societal impact, including stopping illegal fishing in Indonesia, forecasting floods in India, and conserving native bird species in New Zealand, the blog post read.

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Besides healthcare, the tech giant also wants to support more Asia Pacific organisations in using AI to help society by engaging with governments, non-profit organisations, universities and businesses.

For this purpose, it recently launched the “Google AI Impact Challenge”.

“Selected organisations who apply to the challenge will receive support from Google’s AI experts and Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool,” Walker said. (IANS)

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Fish Oil Pills have Little or No Effect on Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

According to the team from University of East Anglia (UEA), omega 3 supplements offer no benefit

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Fish Oil, Pills, Diabetes
Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted because of a common belief that it will protect against, or even reverse, conditions such as diabetes. Pixabay

If you are popping fish oil supplements to protect yourself against diabetes, you may be mistaken. According to the researchers, Omega-3 fats have little or no effect on risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted because of a common belief that it will protect against, or even reverse, conditions such as diabetes.

According to the team from University of East Anglia (UEA), omega 3 supplements offer no benefit.

“Our previous research has shown that long-chain omega 3 supplements, including fish oils, do not protect against conditions such as heart disease, stroke or death. This review shows that they do not prevent or treat diabetes either,” said Dr Lee Hooper, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

Fish Oil, Pills, Diabetes
If you are popping fish oil supplements to protect yourself against diabetes, you may be mistaken. Pixabay

“Omega-3 supplements should not be encouraged for diabetes prevention or treatment,” he added.

If people do choose to take supplementary fish oil capsules to treat or prevent diabetes, or to reduce levels of triglycerides in their blood, then they should use doses of less than 4.4 grams per day to avoid possible negative outcomes.

“The most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega 3 fats on diabetes,” said the paper.

Omega 3 is a type of fat. Small amounts are essential for good health and can be found in the food that we eat. Omega 3 fats are also readily available as over-the-counter supplements and they are widely bought and used.

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The research team assessed the effects of long-chain omega-3 fats, ALA, omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – taken as supplementary capsules, or via enriched or naturally rich foods.

Participants included men and women, some healthy and others with existing diabetes, from North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia, in studies published from the 1960s until 2018.

Participants were randomly assigned to increase their polyunsaturated fats or to maintain their usual intake for at least six months.

There was clearly no effect of increasing long-chain omega-3 fats on diabetes, but there was insufficient information from trials of ALA, omega-6 or total polyunsaturated fats to assess either protective or harmful effects.

Fish Oil, Pills, Diabetes
According to the researchers, Omega-3 fats have little or no effect on risk of Type 2 diabetes. Pixabay

The results show that increasing long-chain omega-3 had little or no effect on diabetes diagnosis or glucose metabolism, but high doses, at levels found in some supplements, could worsen glucose metabolism.

“Oily fish can be a very nutritious food as part of a balanced diet, but we did not find enough trials that encouraged participants to eat more oily fish to know whether it is useful in preventing diabetes or improving glucose metabolism,” said Dr Julii Brainard from Norwich Medical School.

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“Future trials need to measure and assess baseline omega-3 intakes, and assess effects of eating more oily fish — not just supplements,” she added. (IANS)