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AI tool predicts which COVID-19 patients get deadly ‘wet lung’

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Researchers in the US and China reported Monday they have developed an artificial intelligence tool that is able to accurately predict which newly infected patients with the novel coronavirus go on to develop severe lung disease.

Once deployed, the algorithm could assist doctors in making choices about where to prioritize care in resource-stretched health care systems, said Megan Coffee, a physician and professor at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine who co-authored a paper on the finding in the journal Computers, Materials & Continua.

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The tool discovered several surprising indicators that were most strongly predictive of who went on to develop so-called acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS), a severe complication of the COVID-19 illness that fills the lungs with fluid and kills around 50 percent of coronavirus patients who get it.

The team applied a machine learning algorithm to data from 53 coronavirus patients across two hospitals in Wenzhou, China, finding that changes in three features — levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT), reported body aches, and hemoglobin levels –- were most accurately predictive of subsequent, severe disease.

Using this information along with other factors, the tool was able to predict risk of ARDS with up to 80 percent accuracy.

By contrast, characteristics that were considered to be hallmarks of COVID-19, like a particular pattern in lung images called “ground glass opacity,” fever, and strong immune responses, were not useful in predicting which of the patients with initially mild symptoms would get ARDS.

Neither age nor sex were useful predictors either, even though other studies have found men over 60 to be at higher risk.

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“It’s been fascinating because a lot of the data points that the machine used to help influence its decisions were different than what a clinician would normally look at,” Coffee told AFP.

Using AI in medical settings isn’t a brand new concept — a tool already exists to help dermatologists predict which patients will go on to develop skin cancer, to give just one example.

What makes this different is that doctors are learning on the fly about COVID-19, and the tool can help steer them in the right direction, in addition to helping them decide which patients to focus on as hospitals become overwhelmed, said co-author Anasse Bari, a computer science professor at NYU.

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The team is now looking to further refine the tool with data from New York and hope it is ready to deploy sometime in April.


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Cincinnati sheriff deputies replace American flag at the Justice Center with ‘thin-blue-line’ flag

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Cincinnati police were filmed replacing the American flag that hangs over the Justice Center in Ohio's third-largest city. They then replaced it with the thin-blue-line flag, that was created to advocate for law-enforcement during Black Lives Matter Protests.

During the Charlottesville, Virginia riots, right-wing and white supremacist activists carried the thin-blue-line flag along with the Confederate flag to speak out against Black Lives Matter.

While the flag may have been created in support of law enforcement, it has been adopted by white supremacists and taken on a darker meaning.

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WATCH: DC protesters turn over ‘agitator’ to police — then the agitators try to start a fight with cops

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Protesters in Washington, D.C. were captured on video handing over an agitator to police, while other agitators in paintball tactical gear appeared to try and start fights with police.

Former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, revealed that his former colleagues and law enforcement he knows recognize that far-right agitators are attempting to start significant conflicts between police and protesters.

"There is a minimal presence of Antifa, but a far more disturbing presence of right-wing race-based hate groups, such as the Boogaloo Boys who think there will be a race-based civil war coming," he said on MSNBC.

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Trump could use Antifa conspiracy theories to ‘investigate his political opponents’: Ex-FBI assistant director

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According to former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, there are far more white supremacists and anti-government agitators infiltrating the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests than Antifa. He fears Trump will use Antifa as an excuse to investigate his political opponents.

Speaking to MSNBC on Sunday evening, Figliuzzi told host Brian Williams that his sources in law enforcement are telling him that President Donald Trump doesn't have his facts straight on Antifa.

"We're seeing components of legitimate frustrated protesters responding to Mr. Floyd's demise and others," explained Figliuzzi. "Then we are seeing people who are exploiting this for their own purposes, and some of them are more than just opportunistic criminals. Some of them are organized, and some of them have diverse agendas but are coming together to wreak havoc. And I think what we need to pay attention to here is what we have evidence of, what we don't have evidence of, and what we're hearing from the White House and the attorney general."

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