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09-05-2024 | EBM | Scientific Contribution

Navigating the uncommon: challenges in applying evidence-based medicine to rare diseases and the prospects of artificial intelligence solutions

Author: Olivia Rennie

Published in: Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

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Abstract

The study of rare diseases has long been an area of challenge for medical researchers, with agonizingly slow movement towards improved understanding of pathophysiology and treatments compared with more common illnesses. The push towards evidence-based medicine (EBM), which prioritizes certain types of evidence over others, poses a particular issue when mapped onto rare diseases, which may not be feasibly investigated using the methodologies endorsed by EBM, due to a number of constraints. While other trial designs have been suggested to overcome these limitations (with varying success), perhaps the most recent and enthusiastically adopted is the application of artificial intelligence to rare disease data. This paper critically examines the pitfalls of EBM (and its trial design offshoots) as it pertains to rare diseases, exploring the current landscape of AI as a potential solution to these challenges. This discussion is also taken a step further, providing philosophical commentary on the weaknesses and dangers of AI algorithms applied to rare disease research. While not proposing a singular solution, this article does provide a thoughtful reminder that no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach exists in the complex world of rare diseases. We must balance cautious optimism with critical evaluation of new research paradigms and technology, while at the same time not neglecting the ever-important aspect of patient values and preferences, which may be challenging to incorporate into computer-driven models.
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Metadata
Title
Navigating the uncommon: challenges in applying evidence-based medicine to rare diseases and the prospects of artificial intelligence solutions
Author
Olivia Rennie
Publication date
09-05-2024
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Print ISSN: 1386-7423
Electronic ISSN: 1572-8633
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-024-10206-x