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AI Google Medicine Science

Using Google To Help Predict Side Effects of Mixing Drugs 47

sciencehabit writes "Pharmaceuticals often have side effects that go unnoticed until they're already available to the public. Doctors and even the FDA have a hard time predicting what drug combinations will lead to serious problems. But thanks to people scouring the web for the side effects of the drugs they're taking, researchers have now shown that Google and other search engines can be mined for dangerous drug combinations. In a new study, scientists tried the approach out on predicting hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. They found that the data-mining procedure correctly predicted whether a drug combo did or did not cause hypoglycemia about 81% of the time."
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Using Google To Help Predict Side Effects of Mixing Drugs

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  • Better than chance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @09:11AM (#43103395)

    81% is better than a coin flip, but 19% chance of dying (or worse) using Google Doctor(TM) advice is maybe not as good as a Real Doctor(TM).

    Maybe they should try BigPharma(TM) commercials instead and find a reverse-cross-correlation?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @09:29AM (#43103493)

    whooosh, the doctors doesnt have a clue, thats why they are doing this

  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @09:34AM (#43103523) Homepage
    I'm sure for some rarer drug combinations, 81% is a lot better than most real doctors could hope for. They're not infallible.
  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @10:01AM (#43103731)

    The question is whether this 81% is better than Real Doctor. The assumption that Real Doctor gets everything right is, from personal experience, wrong.

  • No joke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NormAtHome ( 99305 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @10:04AM (#43103761)

    I don't know how many people here have elderly parents but my mother is on over ten prescription medications and I've strongly suspected for years that some issues she's having are undocumented drug interactions. I've talked to several of her doctors and the best that they can come up with is "Sorry, there's no real data to support that theory / claim; nothing I can do".

    There really needs to be a system in place to gather data on people who are on this level of medication and try and figure out if some of their problems that started after they were on combinations of medication are related.

  • Re:No joke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @11:31AM (#43104699)

    So my grandmother was in declining health (~90) recently and everyone we talked to Doctor wise had nothing helpful to contribute until one doctor stepped in and finally said, "If you put her in hospice they will completely reevaluate her meds and odds are she'll get better." No doc was willing to take her off of anything outside of hospice because of liability concerns if she got worse / died. We put her in hospice, they pulled back a bunch of meds and now she's alert and regaining lost weight (weight that she needs, not getting fat).

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.