Today’s Solutions: May 28, 2022

Kidney transplants can significantly prolong the life expectancy of patients, but over time, some recipients may experience complications, putting them back on dialysis when their kidneys begin to fail.

In an effort to predict when that would happen, Halifax kidney specialist Dr. Karthik Tennankore partnered with a team of computer scientists specializing in artificial intelligence. According to Tennankore, using AI for this task would enable doctors to estimate how long a kidney transplant would last, and potentially help patients receive better care after surgery.

“If we can find these groups that are more vulnerable or higher risk, we can better their care,” said Tennankore, who recently used machine learning to analyze a database of 50,000 kidney transplants in the US. He now plans to apply the same technique to analyze kidney transplants in Nova Scotia.

As part of the analysis, the nephrologist compared the characteristics of donors with those of recipients to identify connections and make predictions on how long a new organ will last. Such factors include weight, age, and other health conditions that may determine the success of the transplant.

“There may be 30, 40, maybe even as high as 50 variables that we combine together and use this machine learning approach to see how they connect all together,” he said. Once the data analysis is finished, the machine then categorizes the potential life of the transplant in years. 

The idea is that by pinning down higher-risk situations, doctors can change their treatment programs after surgery, which could mean more frequent appointments, or changing their medication. So far, the novel technique has proved to be 80 percent accurate.

To ensure the process is used in an ethical manner, Tennankore’s team plans to consult with the patient network through the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program. This would prevent the work from being used in determining who gets a transplant and who doesn’t.

“We don’t want to deny that patient the opportunity or the chance to get that kidney,” he said. “So they get the transplant, but we know that things may not go well in the future, so it’s important to us to monitor that patient a bit more closely.”

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Dance the cough away: how Kyrgyzstan folk dance treats COPD

Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) is a very common and also treatable lung disease that can be caused by pollution and smoking. It is preventable, and there are many medications for it, but some medical ... Read More

These tips will help you through the baby formula shortage

Due to the pandemic, recalls, and the shutdown of a huge production plant in February, more than 40 percent of the top-selling baby formulas are out of stock across America. Understandably, this has spurred a ... Read More

San Francisco BART wants to get riders back with short stories

Many of us have whiled away the minutes on a bus or a train with a book. Now the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the public transportation authority of San Francisco, is looking to attract ... Read More

Eating just one daily cup of cranberries could prevent dementia

Currently, there is no cure for dementia, a neurological disease that is predicted to impact around 152 million people by 2050. Research teams around the world are constantly working on ways to ward off the ... Read More

How to grow your own aloe vera plant at home

Aloe vera has been used for thousands of years and is touted for its many useful properties. You may find yourself reaching for a bottle of soothing aloe vera gel when you accidentally cut yourself ... Read More