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Artificial intelligence can potentially identify someone's genetic disorders by inspecting a picture of their face, according to a paper published in Nature this week.
The tech relies on the fact some genetic conditions impact not just a person’s health, mental function, and behaviour, but sometimes are accompanied with distinct facial characteristics. For example, people with Down Syndrome are more likely to have angled eyes, a flatter nose and head, or abnormally shaped teeth. Other disorders like Noonan Syndrome are distinguished by having a wide forehead, a large gap between the eyes, or a small jaw. You get the idea.
Group - Researchers - FDNA - Software - Mutations
An international group of researchers, led by US-based FDNA, turned to machine-learning software to study genetic mutations, and believe that machines can help doctors diagnose patients with genetic disorders using their headshots.
The team used 17,106 faces to train a convolutional neural network (CNN), commonly used in computer vision tasks, to screen for 216 genetic syndromes. The images were obtained from two sources: publicly available medical reference libraries, and snaps submitted by users of a smartphone app called Face2Gene, developed by FDNA.
Image - System - DeepGestalt - Studies - Person
Given an image, the system, dubbed DeepGestalt, studies a person's face to make a note of the size and shape of their eyes, nose, and mouth. Next, the face is split into regions, and each piece is fed into the CNN. The pixels in each region of the face are represented as vectors and mapped to a set of features that are commonly associated with the genetic disorders learned by the neural network during its training process.
DeepGestalt then assigns a score per syndrome for each region, and collects these results to compile a list of its top 10 genetic disorder guesses from that submitted face.
Example - DeepGestalt - First - Input - Image
An example of how DeepGestalt works. First, the input image is analysed using landmarks and sectioned into different regions...
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