Watson Health Scientific Update
Since our last update – the Watson Health 100, 2017 Year in Review – we continue to see new scientific progress and achievements across cognitive and real-world evidence solutions around how we apply AI and other data driven technologies in the health industry, including significant advances from IBM Research in healthcare and life sciences. In the first quarter of 2018, over 90 studies and papers highlighting a range of key scientific findings and understandings have been published so far, this year.
In this report, we feature a sampling of our progress in the first quarter of 2018 as well as an in depth look at one of this year’s studies and an introduction to a Watson Health scientist who is helping to drive innovation in healthcare and life sciences here at IBM and with our clients and partners around the global. We hope you will enjoy and recognize that we believe it is essential that we lead with science at Watson Health! 
Meet the Scientists: Richard Martin
Dr. Richard Martin is a research scientist and technical lead at IBM Watson Health. For three years, Richard has been innovating and pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Life Sciences. Dr. Martin’s research interest generally concerns how techniques from computer and information science can work together, and alongside human experts, to help accelerate scientific discovery. His vision is to build an AI research assistant that can augment the capabilities of human experts, uncovering patterns that emerge from enormous volumes of disparate data, that humans alone cannot hope to parse, let alone identify meaningful signals from.

Richard is the natural language processing team leader responsible for teaching the Watson system how to read and understand scientific literature and the language of drug discovery, by extracting and cross-referencing information about genes, drugs and diseases, and how they interact, across a wide variety of sources. Richard has invented and built new types of predictive analytics for machine reasoning upon this massive data, and Richard’s contributions to Watson’s abilities have led to impactful discoveries, such as the recent identification of five never-before-linked proteins that are associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These proteins are now potential avenues for development of novel treatments, and after further testing and validation, the findings were recently published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica .

Richard has a deep personal motivation for innovating in healthcare, rooted in his father’s kidney cancer and ankylosing spondylitis diagnoses, neither of which are presently curable. The analytics that Richard has developed enable, for the first time, the identification of common connections between diseases such as these, and the genes and drugs that are known or likely to be associated with them, providing the hope of finding new paths to discovering a cure. When researchers can more quickly uncover novel patterns and connections they can accelerate discovery, which can lead to effective pharmaceuticals going to market and reaching patients sooner.
Behind the Data: Patterns in Opioid Use
In January, international journal Addictive Behaviors published a manuscript titled : "Trends in Average Days’ Supply of Opioid Medications in Medicaid and Commercial Insurance," which examines trends in opioid prescribing.
As the healthcare community continues to grapple with a rise in opioid abuse, researchers from SAMHSA and RTI International worked with Watson Health on a study to identify trends in opioid prescribing. The study focused on a timeframe following efforts to increase provider awareness around appropriate use and evidence-based prescribing limits. The Watson Health Analytics MarketScan Multi-State Medicaid (2005-2014) and Commercial Claims (2005-2015) databases were analyzed for trends in average days' supply of 6 commonly prescribed opioid drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, tapentadol, and morphine.
For the periods evaluated, days' supply prescribed for adults age 18 - 64 with no cancer diagnosis increased for 5 out of 6 opioid drugs in both populations. Absolute increase in days' supply ranged 2.5 to 5 days in the Medicaid population and 3.5 to 7.5 days in the commercial population. Morphine decreased by 1 day in both.
Despite national headlines around the impact of the growing opioid addiction epidemic and efforts to educate providers and restrict prescribed quantity in the last decade, these results show days' supply for opioid prescriptions has increased. This serves as important context as government, payer, and provider organizations work to develop, track, and implement more effective interventions and policies to curb opioid abuse.
Data + Clinical Evidence Highlights – Q1 2018
Watson Health Cognitive Offerings
Studies and Papers
Annals of Oncology , February 2018
The Oncologist , February 2018
Journal of Clinical Oncology: Clinical Cancer Informatics , February 2018
D rug Safety , February 2018
Watson Health Real-World Evidence
Studies and Papers
Health Services Research , January 2018
Pediatrics , January 2018
Addictive Behaviors , January 2018
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, January 2018
Headache - The Journal of Head and Face Pain , February 2018
Medical Care , February 2018
Psychiatric Services , February 2018
Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research , February 2018
P sychiatric Services , March 2018
Diabetes Therapy , March 2018
Journal of General Internal Medicine , March 2018
Abstracts and Posters
American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence 2018 Conference , March 2018
IBM Research
Studies and Papers
EBioMedicine , January 2018
J ournal of the American Medical Informatics Association , January 2018
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , January 2018
Journal of Affective Disorders , January 2018
Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics , February 2018
World Psychiatry , February 2018
arXiv , February 2018
Scientific Reports , March 2018
Pediatric Pulmonology , March 2018
J ournal of the American College of Radiology , March 2018
Coming Up…
Stay subscribed for our Watson Health Scientific Update and follow our journey to help healthcare stakeholders accelerate innovation and tackle some of the world’s biggest health challenges with technology. It was great to see many of you at JP Morgan Healthcare, HIMSS, and Fortune Brainstorm Health; we hope to see you at some of these industry events happening this year, including:
Scientific Events
-        European Social Services Conference 2018 , May 28-30
-        Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine , May 31-June 2
-        2018 ASCO Annual Meeting , June 1-5
-        AHIP Institute & Expo , June 20-22
-        AcademyHealth’s 2018 Annual Research Meeting , June 24-26
Contact Us:
For additional information, or to receive the full list of studies published in Q1 2018, please contact Kristi Bond at kristi.bond@us.ibm.com .
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