In excess of 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of arthritis, according to the Global RA Network, while figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 1 in 4 adults in America has the disease.
Which makes a breakthrough earlier this year in Europe extremely notable.
It involved computer scientists and physicians in Germany collaborating to develop an AI system that can detect different types of arthritis early.
Focusing on the finger joints, which are often the first parts of the body to show signs of arthritis, the team pioneered an artificial network that can successfully read scans for signs of the disease. And the AI accurately identified the ‘82% of healthy joints, 75% of the cases of rheumatoid arthritis and 68% of the cases of psoriatic arthritis’.
“We are very satisfied with the results of the study as they show that artificial intelligence can help us to classify arthritis more easily, which could lead to quicker and more targeted treatment for patients. However, we are aware of the fact that there are other categories that need to be fed into the network. We are also planning to transfer the AI method to other imaging methods such as ultrasound or MRI, which are more readily available,” said Lukas Folle, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
The research was published in a report in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.