AI the key to ending chronic disease

11 Jul 2023
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Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute are employing artificial intelligence to improve the lives of thousands of Australian women living with chronic inflammatory disease.

Endometriosis – a disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus – can cause debilitating pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

One in nine women under the age of 44 is afflicted with the condition, with thousands admitted to hospital each year. And yet patients wait more than six years on average for an accurate diagnosis.

Professor Louise Hull from the Adelaide Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, is heading up the Adelaide Endometriosis Research Group which is working on two key projects aimed at improving awareness of the condition and facilitating better outcomes for people affected by endometriosis.

“Until recently, the only reliable way of diagnosing endometriosis was to perform keyhole surgery,” she said.

“We are working with the Artificial Intelligence Group at the Australian Institute for Machine Learning on IMAGENDO – looking at employing artificial intelligence to help develop a non-invasive diagnostic tool for endometriosis.” 

IMAGENDO uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to combine the digital data from specialist endometriosis ultrasounds with MRI scans to increase the accuracy rate of diagnoses.

Expected outcomes include a reduction in hospital admissions and surgeries, improved diagnostic timelines and the introduction of preventative interventions.

The Research Group has also launched EndoZone, an evidence-based website that uses an algorithm to best respond to the needs of users.

“EndoZone features an interactive symptom checker and a health report that users can take to their doctor,” Professor Hull said. “Doctors can quickly find information and resources to help people with endometriosis when they present to their practice.”

EndoZone also offers self-management strategies to help people manage their endometriosis and pelvic pain symptoms.


Lynn Cameron
The Advertiser


Behind the research

Louise Hull

Professor, Adelaide Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. The Endometriosis Research Group Private Practice, North Adelaide. Clinical Academic, Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide. Obstetrician and gynaecologist who has worked in IVF units in New Zealand, the UK and Australia.