In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to know about colonoscopies, let alone endure them. Periodic colonoscopies are a necessary component of preventative health care, however, so any technology that results in more effective exams is a win. Enter artificial intelligence (AI) and deep neural networks. We’ve written numerous times about developments in AI-assisted diagnostic applications, from prostate cancer diagnosis to detecting depression.

The world media has featured Wuhan, China prominently in recent news, thanks to the new strain of coronavirus. There is also some positive health tech news from there, however. Researchers at Wuhan University employed deep neural networking to develop a real-time quality improvement system called ENDOANGEL. This system monitors endoscope withdrawal speed during a colonoscopy.

In a study published in The Lancet, the researchers used the system to remind endoscopists of potential blind spots they might miss during colonoscopies due to endoscope slipping and moving too rapidly. If you remove the endoscope too quickly you are more likely to miss adenomas in the colon: benign tumors that can develop into cancer. While only 10% of adenomas convert to cancer, according to Healthline, 95% of colon cancers develop from adenomas. Missing an adenoma due to scope slippage can be cause for concern.

“Adenoma yield” is a key term in evaluating the effectiveness of colonoscopies. In the Wuhan study, with 704 patients aged 18 to 75 years from the Renin Hospital of Wuhan University were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group had colonoscopies with ENDOANGEL assistance and the control group had a colonoscopy without the extra monitoring. The adenoma detection rate (ADR) was significantly higher with ENDOANGEL-assistance than without. According to the researchers, no adverse events were reported resulting from the use of the ENDOANGEL system.

AI continues to rack up the successes, providing tools that can enhance and improve the work of healthcare professionals. In this case, if you have to have a colonoscopy, then it’s certainly better to have one that is as accurate as possible.