Ching-Yu Cheng, MD, MPH, PhD; Tyler Hyungtaek Rim, MD, PhD, MBA; Yih Chung Tham, PhD; Simon Nusinovici, PhD
Competition Sponsor: Ministry of Health and National Research Foundation of Singapore
Awardee year: 2021
Globally, the number of persons aged 80 years or over is projected to increase more than threefold in the next 30 years. This aging population is likely to result in an increased burden of cardiovascular and chronic diseases with significant healthcare associated costs. In this context, early identification of individuals at risk of dying from these diseases would allow early health interventions such as lifestyle modifications. The retina of our eyes represents a unique window into the systemic health status and is amenable to rapid non-invasive imaging. We propose to develop a novel aging biomarker predicted from retinal photographs via artificial intelligence. This aging biomarker may capture physiological changes associated with aging process in huma bodies and thus can help identifying people who have a higher risk of mortality. Recent advances in artificial intelligence technologies provide opportunities to extract relevant information from the retinal photographs to estimate this new aging biomarker. This project thus aims to develop an easily accessible screening tool to help early identify individuals with a faster physiological deterioration, possibly leading to diseases and mortality.