The Latest Medical Breakthrough In Spinal Cord Injuries Was Made By A Computer Program

Doctors have just discovered a previously unknown relationship between the long-term recovery of spinal cord injury victims and high blood pressure during their initial surgeries. This may seem like a small bit of medical news—though it will have immediate clinical implications—but what’s important is how it was discovered in the first place. This wasn’t the result of a new, long-term study, but a meta-analysis of $60 million worth of clinical trials written off as useless 20 years ago by a team of neuroscientists and statisticians led by the University of California San Francisco and partnering with the software firm Ayasdi, using mathematical and machine learning techniques that hadn’t been invented yet when the trials took place. The process was outlined in a paper published today in Nature, and hints at…


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