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Watson Takes on Heart Attacks

Heart attacks can come seemingly out of the blue. But, the New Scientist writes, team of researchers from IBM, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the University of Rochester have turned to using supercomputers to model cardiac arrest.

While they were feeding data into their algorithms on the mechanical and electrical behavior of the heart, the researchers noted that they were missing a key component, namely, the genetic background of the patient.

So the research team is also employing the Watson supercomputer, of Jeopardy! fame, to search for connections between genes and cardiac arrest that then can be added to their model.

"Ultimately, the plan is to be able to use scans of a heart, recordings of its electrical activity, and gene sequence data, to predict someone's risk of sudden cardiac arrest. If they are at risk, they could be prescribed antiarrhythmic drugs, for example," New Scientist adds.