Friday Five

AI replacing radiologists, the CRISPR-baby scandal and some advice for New Year’s resolutions – this week’s Friday Five

AI ‘outperforms’ human radiologists diagnosing breast cancer

Artificial intelligence is more accurate than human radiologists in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms, a study published in Nature suggests.

The international team behind the study, which includes researchers from Google Health, DeepMind, Imperial College and the NHS designed and trained the computer model on mammography images from almost 29,000 women.

The AI model proved to be superior at spotting cancers than the existing double-reading system of two doctors and has the potential to improve detection rates and reduce doctors’ workloads.

Read more on BBC News.

Worrying rise in eating disorder hospital admissions

Hospital admissions for eating disorders have risen by more than a third (37%) across all age groups over the last two years, NHS Digital figures show.

Admissions rose from nearly 14,000 in 2016-17 to 16,000 the following year and 19,000 in 2018-19.

Psychiatrists and experts in eating disorders say the figures are worrying and show that more needs to be done to support people before they reach crisis point.

Read more on BBC News.

Chinese scientist who gene-edited babies jailed for 3 years

The scientist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies, He Jiankui, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for “illegally carrying out the human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction”.

He Jiankui announced last year that he had used CRISPR gene-editing technology to engineer twin girls to be resistant to HIV.

The Chinese government immediately placed He under police investigation for “illegally carrying out the human embryo gene-editing intended for reproduction”.

The full consequences of gene-editing babies are unclear, but the effects could be permanent.

Read more on BBC News.

NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens recognised with knighthood

The head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, has been knighted for services to health care in the 2020 new year’s honours list.

Since taking up his position at NHS England in 2014, Sir Simon has been instrumental in arguing that the health service needed extra money and was involved in helping to convince Theresa May to give the NHS a five-year funding plan which was announced in the summer of 2018.

Lord Darzi, a former health minister and leading surgeon, said Sir Simon was one of the country’s “greatest public servants” and “He combines a first rate mind with tireless devotion.”

Read more on BBCNews.


Quote of the week

Prof Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, urged people to make sensible New Year’s resolutions and not fall for quick fix diets.

“It’s always a good time to try to get in shape, and new year’s resolutions are a great time to make a change, but the reality is there’s a slim chance of success with diet pills and detox teas – and people could end up doing more harm than good”.

Read more in The Guardian.