Edmonton, Alberta - June 22nd, 2021
Five new exceptional AI researchers have been appointed through the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy as Canada CIFAR AI Chairs. Among them is Medo’s very own Jacob Jaremko, the only practising physician to have ever been awarded a Chair.
Appointed through the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, the five selected Canada CIFAR AI Chairs are all affiliated with Amii, based in Edmonton, one of the world’s leading centres for AI, and will take up faculty positions at the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Chairs are leading research in reinforcement learning, privacy-preserving machine learning, and AI for health.
What is CIFAR, and what is the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy?
The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research is a global research organization that brings together teams of the world’s leading researchers to address important and complex problems. With over 1000 researchers across 30 countries, the CIFAR community is internationally renowned for their high caliber research and breakthrough findings.
The CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy is the world’s first national AI strategy. It was established in 2017 when the Government of Canada appointed CIFAR to develop and lead the program, and is done in close collaboration with Canada’s three national AI institutes. Amii (Edmonton, Alberta), Mila (Montreal, Quebec), and the Vector Institute (Toronto, Ontario), as well as universities, hospitals, and organizations across the country.
About Dr. Jacob Jaremko
Jacob Jaremko is a Canadian and U.S board-certified pediatric and musculoskeletal radiologist and researcher (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta), an associate professor and AHS Endowed Chair at the University of Alberta, MIC Medical Imaging Partner, Biomedical Engineering PhD holder, father of three children, co-founder and clinical strategist of Medo AI, and all-around awesome human being.
His research interests are in artificial intelligence, 3D imaging, ultrasound, and the ultimate combination and application of these in a health care setting to detect various illnesses and conditions. Which is used to fuel Medo’s vision.
He has also authored and co-authored over 250 research papers!
Revolutionizing Ultrasound with AI.
Imagine if you could instantly diagnose all ails and illnesses using a handheld scanner. That’s the future that Dr. Jaremko envisions, thanks to AI paired with ultrasound technology!
From his most recent study, his team looked at whether a quick scan from an ultrasound machine was as effective as an X-ray in diagnosing broken arms in children visiting an emergency room.
The current process of waiting to see a physician, going for X-rays and getting a diagnosis takes several hours. Roughly half of the time, there is no fracture.
Ultrasound can be instantaneous, but the black-and-white snowstorm images can be quite confusing for the uninitiated to interpret, noted Dr. Jaremko, who holds the Alberta Health Services Endowed Chair in Diagnostic Imaging at the U of A and is a member of the Women’s and Children's Health Research Institute.
“However, an artificial intelligence network can recognize patterns in the ultrasound, much the same way that your iPhone can recognize your face and unlock itself.”
For the study, a cohort of ultrasound experts reviewed both ultrasound and X-ray images of bone breaks. They found that, with the right expertise, ultrasounds were as good as X-rays in identifying fractures.
Those same images were then fed into a neural network that researchers in Jaremko’s lab trained to search for fractures. The study showed the neural network accuracy was the same as the human expert accuracy.
“In the future, a child with a sore arm comes in and instead of sending them for this several-hours-long procedure, (the clinician) scans the patient for a few seconds, looks at the pictures and gets an opinion from the computer as to whether a fracture is detected,” he said.
“In at least half of the kids there is no fracture, so you're done—they go home and an emergency room bed opens up. Similarly, you could expand that out to walk-in clinics, ambulances and remote communities.”
Medo AI for Health
Following Dr. Jaremko’s vision for a “21st-century stethoscope”, Medo’s technology doesn’t just stop at identifying fractures. It can also be used to detect many other kinds of ailments.
We are in the process of commercializing a pair of ultrasound technologies, both of which are already FDA approved. They are Medo Hip, and Medo Thyroid.
Medo Hip revolves around the prenatal diagnosis of hip dysplasia, which occurs when the ball and socket joint is poorly formed. Though this affliction is easy to correct when identified in an infant, it often goes undiagnosed, which dooms those who live with it to a life of pain, suffering and limited mobility.
Using AI, we trained a neural network using the world’s largest ultrasound image dataset of hip dysplasias to reliably detect the disorder. It is currently being piloted in some clinics in the Edmonton region, as well as the U.K. and Brazil.
Another technology will help physicians identify types of thyroid nodules, called Medo Thyroid.
“Here's something you could do in the clinic, scan more patients and reduce wait times,” he said.
“Especially in followup, if you're always doing the scan with the same computer system, then you get a very consistent approach and you can say whether the nodules changed. The computer network really supports thyroid ultrasound and makes it a lot more robust and a lot easier to use.”
Medo is an artificial intelligence technology start-up company headquartered in Edmonton, Canada and Singapore. Medo builds cutting edge artificial intelligence that pairs with ultrasound devices to facilitate novice users' ability to detect common and critical conditions, even in remote and rural areas. Medo believes that such technology will transform ultrasound for the 21st century.
With two FDA clearances (Medo Thyroid and Medo Hip), and licensing from Health Canada in the works, we are constantly looking to improve and refine our technology.
We are currently looking to engage in partnerships with American Radiology Clinics and Centers of Health. If your organization’s goal is to bring a higher standard of care to your patient’s journey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.