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This article was published in May 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Diagnosis by computer?

23 May 2013

doctor with a computerImagine all the world’s data on epilepsy. Imagine all the world’s scientific literature on epilepsy. Then imagine it crunched by a super computer. This computer has a brain better than the most intelligent human being. Then imagine that resulting data being used by your doctor the next time you talk to them about your epilepsy. This has just come a step closer to real life.

Epilepsy medicine company UCB, and technology company IBM, have joined forces. Their goal is to make sure your doctor makes the right choice about what care you receive. UCB and IBM scientists want to create the biggest single collection of epilepsy data. Huge collections of data are sometimes called ‘Big Data’. This just means an amount of data too large to be looked at in the usual ways.

When the project is finished, your doctor will be able to combine his or her clinical diagnosis with what the computer says. The hope is that the computer will be able to add valuable insights to your condition that the doctor might miss.

UCB and IBM think that the deeper understanding that this data gives will mean better treatments in the future.

UCB is one of the main companies that makes anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Its main drug is called Keppra (or levetiracetam). It has recently launched a newer AED called Vimpat (or lacosamide).

UCB operates in around 40 countries worldwide. It has a been going since 1928. Its HQ is in Brussels, Belgium. IBM operates in around 170 countries worldwide. It has around 20,000 employees. It has an annual turnover of around $100bn.

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