It doesn't seem to make any sense. How can a tool we use as translators actually be a valuable diagnostic tool for liver failure? Well, according to a a paper in npj Digital Medicine (formerly Nature Digital Medicine), researchers describe how they used natural language processing to evaluate electronic message samples from patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) also known as chronic liver failure.
ESLD has been associated with cognitive abnormalities such as diminished attention span, loss of memory and language problems. If the liver cannot remove toxins from the body properly, these toxins cross over to the brain and create these abnormalities.
This is where a tool we are familiar with, natural language processing, steps in. The same technology that lets computers read, decipher, understand and make sense of human language, has now become a clinical detective able to diagnose early and subtle signs of language-associated cognitive issues. For example, there is a marked difference between pre- and post-transplant email wording.
NLP technology has only recently begun making its mark in health care, but who knows where it will go from here! Refining it may help with other diseases such as Alzheimer's. Read this fascinating article to learn more!