Facial recognition technology for newborns is here! Source: Shutterstock

Pediatricians are now using facial recognition on babies

FACIAL recognition technology has several applications, but it is most widely used to spot wanted-criminals in the field of security and surveillance and to understand customer behavior in retail.

Recently, Children’s National found a way to use the technology to improve the lives of newborns suffering from genetic disorders.

The new solution uses facial recognition technology to quickly diagnoses rare diseases and common genetic disorders among children, helping to improve kids’ health outcomes around the world.

“We aim to transform innovative ideas into transformational solutions and this technology, which is undergoing clinical validation needed for market clearance, is a prime example of how these innovative solutions can benefit children around the world,” said Children’s Vice-President and Chief Innovation Officer Kolaleh Eskandanian.

Each year, 1 million children are born worldwide with a genetic condition that requires immediate attention. Because many of these children experience serious medical complications and go on to suffer from intellectual disabilities, it is critical that doctors accurately diagnose genetic syndromes as early as possible.

Partnering with the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute and clinicians from 20 countries, Children’s National research-scientists demonstrated the potential widespread utility of digital dysmorphology technology to diverse populations with genetic conditions.

The technology enables clinicians to identify children with genetic conditions earlier by simply taking the child’s photo.

Marius George Linguraru, a Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Principal Investigator and Inventor of the technology said:

For years, research groups have viewed facial recognition technology as a potent tool to aid genetic diagnosis. Our project is unique because it offers the expertise of a virtual geneticist to general health care providers located anywhere in the world.

Today, children born in under-resourced regions of the U.S. or the world must wait for years to receive an accurate diagnosis due to the lack of specialized genetic expertise in that region.

In addition to providing patient-specific benefits, Dr Marshall Summar, director of the Rare Disease Institute that partners in the facial recognition technology research, said that the project offers wider societal benefit.

“Right now, parents can endure a seemingly endless odyssey as they struggle to understand why their child is different from peers. A timely genetic diagnosis can dispel that uncertainty and replace it with knowledge. This can speed patient triage and deliver more timely medical interventions,” Summar explained.