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May 27, 2014

Two on cancer detection

Bring it on!

"IBM's Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors".

"Simple blood test could soon diagnose if patient has cancer and how far advanced the disease it is, scientists say".


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This reminds me of one of the most infuriating and anti-science radio spots that's been blaring here in Maryland. I switch the station every time it comes on, so I can't remember exactly who it's for. The commercial goes on to mock the use of algorithms to diagnose patients. The "logic" used to mock this is down right dangerous. The premise is that a specific person is different from everyone else, therefore using previously seen symptoms to diagnose someone is worthless because those symptoms occurred on someone else.

This is like saying that just because I have a runny nose, nausea, and a fever that it's ridiculous to suggest I have the flu because a lot of people you've seen before with those symptoms had the flu. I'm a different person damnit! You can't say anything useful to me based on what you've seen before.

The people writing the add don't seem to understand that previous observations on other people are the ONLY information that informs diagnoses on symptoms observed in current patients.

dave smith

Marginal Revolution highlighted what Ken is talking about today.

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