Alan Turing’s work could help improve cancer detection tests

Alan Turing’s work could help improve cancer detection tests

PanARMENIAN.Net - Work by the Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing could help develop better tests for the early detection of cancer and other diseases, The Independent cited experts as saying.

Researchers at Edinburgh University believe his mathematical techniques could be used to help measure the effectiveness of existing diagnostic tools.

Currently the accuracy of diagnostic tests is assessed using statistical techniques developed in the 1980s.

These are unable to gauge how useful a test could be in determining an individual’s risk of developing a disease.

But now experts at the university’s Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics believe Mr Turing’s methods could improve diagnoses.

Working at Bletchley Park in 1941, Mr Turing came up with the method used to break the German forces’ Enigma code.

His approach investigated the distribution of so-called weights of evidence – which establish the likely outcomes in a given situation – to help him decide the best strategy for cracking Enigma.

The same principle could aid the development of personalised treatments, according to the research published in the journal Statistical Methods in Medical Research.

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