Artificial Intelligence in Clinical and Therapeutic Nutrition

Nada El Haj Youssef
English Teacher
INPSAA

 

Nada is a lifelong learner and a passionate Lebanese educator currently working in the United Arab Emirates. She is an English homeroom teacher at Al Ittihad National Private School. She’s aiming to create an atmosphere of enthusiastic play based learning that encourages students to become critical thinkers.


Nada holds a Teaching diploma in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from the Lebanese International University (LIU). By spring 2022 she will complete her Master’s Degree of Education in Educational Management at the Lebanese International University in Beirut. She has four years of experience in teaching preschoolers in classroom settings as well as through e-learning. Nada also participates in educational webinars to keep her knowledge up to date.


Nada considers protecting our planet as a priority as she shares simple choices through social media for a healthier planet. She also appreciates nature and tends to influence others positively.

Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction, in fact digital technology is now integrated into society. In the medical industry artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the field of healthcare as it helps in disease diagnosis, clinical outcome prediction as well as designing therapeutics. Recently AI has been a vital tool in the early predictions of the impact and spread of the pandemic as well as providing information and knowledge to control the issue.

Following the rise of medical technology and after the rise of food – as – medicine concept and the importance of lifestyle to control and treat chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems and certain types of cancers, rising the interest of technologies in nutrition. AI offers the ability to optimize diet intake, develop constructive feedback and provide personalized guidance through the use of mobile applications to track dietary intake and the use of telehealth to provide remote healthcare and nutritional assessment as well as the use of wearable accessories to measure dietary biomarkers.

Artificial intelligence represents an opportunity to enhance a patients engagement outside the healthcare facility through mobile health applications that actively collect data and support self–monitoring of dietary intake and physical activity as well. Studies have shown that consistent use of health applications lead to successful positive changes in weight management. Thousands of apps are currently available for public use and can also provide users with personalized health information and weight management recommendations. Another major area of interest is the applications for specific health conditions. For example, applications for diabetes can help patients with their blood sugar management through diet and behaviour guidance.

Artificial intelligence in smartwatches is the most popular health monitoring accessory by far. These health accessories have advanced rapidly in the past few years, starting from a simple pedometer to a precise health monitoring ability. It is equipped with advanced sensors to track energy expenditure, heart rate, physical activity as well as track progress and track the efficiency of intervention and passively collect the data and transfer it to the dietary app that allows users to maintain and control digital dietary records which can be used during nutrition consultations. Recent studies show that healthcare providers valued the smartwatch collected data. Currently more promising wearable sensors are being researched to enhance passive data collection such as acoustic – based dietary intake devices to detect chewing and swallowing patterns in order to give insight into the type and quantity of food consumed. Also, image – based dietary intake device which uses cameras in order to detect the food item and to estimate the portion size. And motion – based dietary intake devices which track wrist movements during food intake.

The main advantage of AI in nutrition is the ability to recognize malnourished patients because malnutrition is a serious health issue that affects billions of people worldwide which refers to lack or excess in certain nutrient intake. Artificial intelligence offers several screening and nutrition assessment tools such as SGA, NRS, MUST… which is integrated with the electronic health records (EHRs) to allow the ability to make data – driven clinical decisions in

order to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality rate. As well as to support critical cases by utilizing computerized provider order entry systems in parental (PN) and enteral nutrition (EN) to reduce the chance of error and to assess the ongoing clinical amount of patients ins and outs.

Lately artificial intelligence has played a significant role in reducing patients demand on supplies and healthcare facilities. The consultation visit is conducted virtually instead of a face – to – face visit, lowering the risk of infection as well as healthcare costs while ensuring proper continuous follow up.

It is predicted that in the coming few years, future development work can expand the accuracy of the health applications and can support data integration into the health care system, along with ensuring users privacy.

The integration of technology and digital health through mobile applications, telehealth and wearable devices has greatly improved the quality and the importance of understanding nutrition care. Theres a promise for growth of digital technology in clinical and therapeutic nutrition in the future and providing new nutritional research opportunities to meet future challenges.

 

References

Alpert, J. M. et al., 2020. Secondary care provider attitudes towards patient generated health data from smartwatches. npj Digital Medicine, 3(27).

Burley, V. J., Cade, J. E., Carter, M. C. & Nykjear, C., 2013. Adherence to a Smartphone Application for Weight Loss Compared to Website and Paper Diary: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res, 15(4).

Jalilian, L. et al., 2021. The Age of Artificial Intelligence: Use of Digital Technology in Clinical Nutrition. Current Surgery Reports, 9(20).

Sak, J. & Suchodolska, M., 2021. Artificial Intelligence in Nutrients Science Research: A Review. Nutrients, 13(322).