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The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) have announced a strategic alliance  that will leverage the artificial intelligence and Big Data to aid in the prediction, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

The alliance will see the DCRI, under the direction of Michael Pencina, Ph.D., and Lawrence Carin, Ph.D., work in conjunction with AHA to develop machine learning methods to be deployed on the AHA Precision Medicine Platform.

“Together, we will develop new methods and technology for analyzing data, and create abundant opportunities for trainees to excel,” said Jennifer Hall, Ph.D., chief of the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine in a press release. “We’re pleased to work with the DCRI’s team of data science experts to develop and test emerging strategies to power machine learning.”

The strategic alliance will investigate how big data is managed, accessed, harmonized, searched and deposited, specific to secondary analyses of clinical databases. In addition, DCRI and AHA will leverage their grants for big data harmonization and methods to create novel machine learning tools and aggregated data repositories.

“There is great potential in machine learning and other artificial intelligence methods to discover new insights, but we have to be sensible and think clearly about how we use it,” said Pencina, the DCRI’s director of biostatistics and a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Duke School of Medicine. “I think team science is the key that unlocks that potential.”

The DCRI’s more than 1,300 staff members include 76 clinicians from the Duke School of Medicine and more than 100 biostatisticians and data scientists. Both sets of experts, in conjunction with the powerful technology established by the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, offer an ideal alliance for unlocking the potential of artificial intelligence to address the challenges of preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

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