The tech was developed by a PhD grad conducting medical research following the death of her grandfather.
PhD grad from Montreal Canada, Karina Gasbarrino has won a Mitacs Social Entrepreneurship Award for her development of AI technology that can both prevent and detect strokes.
The artificial intelligence Gasbarrino developed was the result of a decade of research.
Gasbarrino’s own grandfather died of a stroke more than ten years ago, at which time she decided to research the subject. Throughout that time, she worked to create the AI technology that would improve the early prediction and the prevention of strokes. As the research was very much based on a personal experience, receiving an award meant a lot to her.
Last week, Gasbarrino’s work was recognized with the Mitacs Social Entrepreneurship Award, which is a Canadian national innovation award won by an applicant with a start-up that addresses or solves humanitarian, social or cultural issues.
“It really started off because we have a family history of cardiovascular disease,” said Gasbarrino. “I ended up losing my grandfather over 10 years ago due to a stroke.”
“It was really instantaneous, like one minute he was here, the next he was not. And so that really impacted me and my family and it gave me the drive to want to go into research and really understand what causes these strokes and how we could better predict and prevent them,” she added.”
The award was for the PLAKK AI technology software using image analysis technology.
The software’s artificial intelligence conducts an image analysis to examine harmful fatty deposits, plaques, in neck arteries. The rupture of these fatty deposits is a leading cause of strokes.
“What we’re trying to do with our technology is provide clinicians with more information about those plaques … and by understanding that, we can better determine whether a patient is at risk of having a stroke,” said Gasbarrino.
Using this artificial intelligence-based software is meant to help to provide healthcare providers with additional resources to detect plaques in the neck artery. Currently, no blood test exists to provide the information the AI technology has to offer. Though there is imaging, it cannot identify the composition or risk level associated with that plaque.