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New study published on Nature Medicine unveils the power of AI in predicting osteoporotic fractures

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | January 21, 2020 Artificial Intelligence
KIBBUTZ SHEFAYIM, Israel, Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Zebra Medical Vision and Clalit Health Services announce the completion of a medical study that showcases how algorithms can be used to utilize existing CT data to identify patients at high risk for osteoporotic fractures. These patients can then be considered for preventive treatment. The osteoporosis algorithm was developed by Zebra Medical Vision, which collaborated on this research with the Clalit Research Institute and Ben-Gurion University, and has received wide interest from various healthcare providers around the world.

The novelty in the algorithmic research of Zebra Medical Vision and Clalit Health Services is in the algorithm's ability to calculate bone density and identify existing vertebral compression fractures using CT scans that were already performed for other purposes. This approach enables leveraging existing CTs to identify populations at risk of osteoporosis, without the need for additional procedures or radiation exposure.

The study shows how AI can help identify patients at risk for life-threatening fractures, as Zebra Medical Vision's technology for assessing bone fragility characteristics in CT scans was successfully translated into an accurate fracture risk predictor by the Clalit research team. The predictor was found to be as accurate as, and sometimes even more predictive than, FRAX, the current gold standard for evaluating fracture risk, which requires many clinical inputs and is underutilized.

Osteoporosis is a significant burden on the healthcare system, costing nearly $18 billion annually in the U.S. alone. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over that age of 50 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. The risk of death in the first year after sustaining a hip fracture is over 20%. In spite of this, current diagnosis and treatment of the disease is subpar. Compliance with standard bone-density screening, known as DEXA, is low, and as a result many patients suffering from the disease are not diagnosed or properly treated. This new study is thus an excellent example of harnessing analytic capabilities and big-data techniques for the advancement of public health.

This unique achievement of Dr. Noa Dagan, Director of data & AI driven medicine at the Clalit Research Institute, and Dr. Eldad Elnekave, CMO at Zebra Medical Vision, points to the importance of research within the international healthcare technology arena and places both entities at the forefront of the growing digital health market.

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