The Stack Archive

IBM’s Watson health analysis engine powers DNA-based app

Thu 13 Nov 2014

IBM have teamed up with San Diego-based genetics testing company Pathway Genomics to produce an app that will give you personalised day-to-day medical advice based on your sequenced DNA. The program, called Pathway Panorama, will make use of IBM’s Watson a cognitive computing system.

The app will permit users who have provided it with their sequenced genome to ask casual advice according to their daily routines – or changes in them, for instance asking how much coffee it might be advisable to drink (or skip) on a Monday, or whether they should skip their daily run after a flight.

Pathway Panorama will be able to access millions of pages of medical data to form its decisions, in concert with the indications and tendencies of the sequenced genome.

Dr Michael Nova, CMO of Pathway Genomics says in the statement: “The medical industry is undergoing a dramatic and systemic change, giving consumers and their physicians a powerful tool built upon cognitive learning and Watson will make the change even more transformative.

VP of IBM Watson Group Stephen Gold added: “By tapping into IBM Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities, Pathway Genomics is allowing consumers to ask health related questions, in their own words and receive personalized and relevant responses…Cognitive computing solutions based on Watson’s transformative technology will help define how consumers and businesses alike make better informed lifestyle decisions, enabling better outcomes.”

Pathway Genomics, founded in 2008, made an entry in Inc. magazine’s Coolest Products list, and has raised $80mn (£50,856mn) of funding since launch.

What may be most interesting about the project is actually any feedback it may share with its originators, and any dissonance that may be recorded between the advice given (if taken) and the results obtained. But so it is with many other devices in the field of IoT medical-wear. The data sets that come through from live health data in the next ten years may begin to shed light not so much on the consequences of following or ignoring obvious medical lore (don’t smoke, get fat, jump off cliffs, etc.), but on anomalous or ‘illogical’ responses to good or bad living.

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