Five steps to better health symptom Googling

You are 30 years old.  You smoked for 10 years but quit last year.  You started getting a dry cough recently and becoming strangely short of breath when walking long distances and you can hear yourself wheeze.  A search for “cough with wheezing” on Google returns a very long list of medical words – some you know, some you don’t – like asthma, emphysema, bronchiolitis.  And then you come upon some heavy-weight diagnostic jargon like “allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis,” “acute respiratory distress syndrome,” and “bronchogenic pulmonary adenocarcinoma.”

Now you are really worried.

Welcome to the world of medical information overload.

It is impractical to expect modern patients to stay away from the web for aches and pains.  Photo credit: Author
The web is a double edged sword for health information.  Photo credit: Author

Continue reading “Five steps to better health symptom Googling”

Five steps to better health symptom Googling

Can Dr. Watson Practice Medicine?

“Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.” – Alan Turing

Sherlock Holmes is fictional expert in what he calls the “exact science of detection” (A Study in Scarlet). Despite his genius in deductive reasoning and intuition is unparalleled, much of the detective success relies upon the calm and composed guidance of his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson. In most of the canonical novels, Watson acts as the sanity check for Holmes’ storm of ideas and, of course, the meticulous chronicler of their adventures together.

After defeating its human opponents on Jeopardy, the supercomputer Watson by IBM will attempt to learn medicine. Despite its terabytes of storage and raw processing horsepower, Watson’s ability to make medical decisions remains unclear. Can IBM’s Watson truly understand the complex human body and make medical decisions, or will it – like Dr. Watson attempting deduction – prove to be an helpful sounding board but falling short of achieving true intuition?
Continue reading “Can Dr. Watson Practice Medicine?”

Can Dr. Watson Practice Medicine?