Would you anticipate a single set of garments to suit everybody? Of course not. Similarly, would you anticipate a single food plan to work for everybody? Again, that is not practical. People differ considerably relating to their environment, medical historical past, each day actions, physique composition, biology, genetics, and the numerous different elements affecting food plan and well being.
Society wants to maneuver away from the one-diet-fits-all strategy that is been used for years and towards precision nutrition, an rising discipline that entails tailoring diets so that they higher match totally different individuals’s circumstances and traits. Computer expertise and synthetic intelligence (AI) will probably be central to reaching extra widespread precision nutrition.
Why Do We Need AI for Precision Nutrition?
A fancy system of genetic, organic, behavioral, social, environmental, and financial elements and mechanisms affects and is affected by one’s food plan and well being. A affected person’s metabolism will be influenced by their consuming behaviors, sleep patterns, and stress ranges, which in flip will be affected by their work, atmosphere, and social circles. Their threat of creating heart problems will be associated to not solely what they eat but in addition their genetics, bodily exercise, dwelling state of affairs, comorbid medical circumstances, and a number of different elements.
Humans can usually determine easy direct cause-and-effect relationships, however we tend to struggle once they grow to be extra advanced. Computer-aided approaches like AI may rework vitamin by serving to make sense of huge quantities of data and patterns which are too advanced for most individuals to know.
However, the impression of AI will rely upon how it’s really used. When utilized in the appropriate method, AI may very well be a constructive recreation changer, serving to to make vitamin pointers and suggestions way more exact and individually tailor-made in ways in which enhance food plan and well being. When used inappropriately, nonetheless, it may make issues worse, resulting in inappropriate suggestions, the introduction of bias, and the worsening of already present disparities in vitamin and well being.
How Would the AI Be Used?
While it is not too long ago grow to be more and more trendy to make use of, AI is a really broad and imprecise time period encompassing a variety of approaches and methods. The Oxford Dictionary defines AI as “the speculation and improvement of laptop programs in a position to carry out duties usually requiring human intelligence, similar to visible notion, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”
Therefore, saying that you’re utilizing AI to deal with an issue is form of like saying you might be utilizing computer systems to deal with an issue. Or that you will use drugs to deal with a well being subject. That alone would not say a lot.
So, if you hear that AI is getting used, dig deeper. Ask how it’s particularly getting used. How precisely is AI serving to disentangle the advanced programs concerned?
Along with Diana Thomas, PhD, a professor of arithmetic at West Point, I co-lead the brand new AIMINGS (Artificial Intelligence, Modeling, and Informatics, for Nutrition Guidance and Systems) Center that may function the AI Center for Precision Nutrition and Health. Our cost is to develop new AI algorithms to assist higher tailor diets to totally different individuals’s circumstances and traits. To do that, we will probably be incorporating the ideas and practices of programs science, an interdisciplinary discipline that entails creating and implementing approaches and strategies to better understand and address complex systems.
What Might This Look Like in Practice?
Let’s say you need to develop an AI-based app that helps sufferers shed pounds. If this app merely targeted on a affected person’s present peak and weight, their microbiome, and some different measures from blood checks similar to their blood sugar, it may supply impractical recommendation and even the improper conclusions. After all, it might be utterly ignoring the advanced programs exterior their physique and of their environment. There’s an enormous distinction between somebody dwelling a snug and already in any other case wholesome life in a mansion with a private chef and a health coach versus somebody who’s working three totally different traumatic jobs, living in a high crime neighborhood, and unable to afford recent fruit and veggies.
You’d additionally need to know particularly how the app is characterizing the connection between a specific issue, such because the composition of the affected person’s microbiome, and the way they are able to shed pounds. Does the algorithm oversimplify this relationship? Did the builders of the app merely observe a small group of individuals and look for easy correlations? Were these individuals much like your affected person and in what manner? Trying to generalize relationships discovered inside different individuals, who could also be very totally different than your affected person, would in essence be making an attempt to pressure a one-size-fits-all strategy another way.
We are at a key inflection point in society. Years of analysis have helped scientists notice the complexity of the relationships between vitamin and well being. Meanwhile, we now have extra computer-based approaches and way more info obtainable, with so many individuals utilizing wearables, the Internet, and different applied sciences. Diet and vitamin apps have already began to emerge. But it is unclear what number of of those are actually helpful and what number of may very well be deceptive.
AI actually has the potential to rework vitamin and well being, relying on how it’s used. The query is whether or not this transformation will probably be constructive or unfavorable.
Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA, is a professor of well being coverage and administration on the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy; govt director of Public Health Informatics, Computational, and Operations Research (PHICOR) and the Center for Advanced Technology and Communication in Health (CATCH); co-PI of the AIMINGS Center; and founder and CEO of Symsilico.
He is internationally acknowledged for his work creating AI, computational fashions, and different computer-based approaches to assist health-related determination making. He additionally writes extensively for the overall media, together with overlaying well being and healthcare as a senior contributor for Forbes and sustaining his “A Funny Bone to Pick” weblog as a regular contributor for Psychology Today.