Harnessing “Big Data” to Diagnose Health Problems

We have now entered an era where much of what each one of us does during the day (whether it is work related or personal) involves interactions with websites and search engines. This modus operandi is generating tremendous new opportunities where the collective behavior of large groups of users can help create associations that one would not have fathomed otherwise. As you can imagine, search engines like Google and Bing, are well-positioned to generate such associations. A characteristic example of what is possible was recently reported by Microsoft researchers. By evaluating user queries on Bing, the company’s search engine, and studying how these queries evolved over time they were able to identify individuals who had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

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