Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Google search algorithm tracks spread of cancer

More on technology in healthcare--

'Google search algorithm helps track spread of cancer': "Google ranks Web pages by the likelihood that an individual would end up visiting each one randomly. These predictions are based on the trends of millions of users across the Web, the 'Live Science' reported. It uses the "steady state distribution" to calculate the probability of someone visiting a page. "You have millions of people wandering the Web, [and] Google would like to know what proportion are visiting any given Web page at a given time. "It occurred to me that steady state distribution is equivalent to the metastatic tumour distribution that shows up in the autopsy datasets," Newton said. The referred dataset contains information about autopsy patients from the 1920's to the 1940's, who died before chemotherapy was available. By focusing on this group of patients, the researchers could track the natural progression of cancer, specifically lung cancer, without different treatments interfering with the data. Out of fifty metastasis sites described in the autopsy reports, the scientists found that twenty-seven contained cancer that appeared to have spread from the lungs. Just like with an individual browsing the Web, cells that break off from the original lung tumour and entered the bloodstream had a certain probability of progressing to different locations. . . . "

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