HomeHealthAI tackles grief, with a chatbot that allows you to talk to...

AI tackles grief, with a chatbot that allows you to talk to deceased loved ones

What’s new in healthcare? Here are some of the most interesting, under-the-radar stories from Yahoo News partners this week.

‘You absolutely don’t need permission from someone who is dead’

What does the future of grief and loss look like? An AI company called You, Only Virtual is making chatbots modeled after deceased loved ones, with its founder, Justin Harrison, telling “Good Morning America” ​​that he hopes people don’t have to feel grief at all.

You, Only Virtual scans text messages, emails and phone calls shared between an individual and the deceased to create a chatbot that composes original written or audio responses that mimic the voice of the deceased and enhances the relationship and rapport modeling that the two shared in life.

The company, founded in 2020, hopes to offer a video chat option later this year, “and eventually offer augmented reality that allows interaction with a three-dimensional projection,” GMA reported.

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Harrison, who used the technology to create “a virtual mother” after his mother died, dismissed potential privacy concerns that would arise from using personal conversations to build a chatbot without the deceased’s consent.

“You definitely don’t need permission from someone who’s dead,” he said. “My mother could have hated the idea, but this is what I wanted and I’m still alive.”

The WHO says cases of mosquito-borne diseases could reach near-record highs, thanks to global warming

Panom/Getty Images

Panom/Getty Images

The World Health Organization said on Friday that cases of dengue fever could reach near-record highs this year – thanks in part to global warming, which is allowing mosquitoes and the viruses they carry to multiply more quickly, Reuters reported.

The WHO warned earlier this year that dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a ‘pandemic threat’, with around half the world’s population now at risk.

Most cases are asymptomatic, but symptoms of dengue may include fever accompanied by nausea, rash or pain, which usually resolves within two to seven days. About one in twenty people with dengue will develop severe dengue, which can result in shock, internal bleeding and – in less than 1% of people – death.

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A gene variant could be the reason some test positive for the virus without COVID symptoms

Ladanifer/Getty ImagesLadanifer/Getty Images

Ladanifer/Getty Images

Scientists involved in a study published Wednesday have identified a gene that could explain why some COVID-positive people never develop symptoms.

The study involved 29,947 volunteer bone marrow donors — “because high-quality genetic data was already available for this group,” the Washington Post reported — and asked them to use smartphones to track their own coronavirus infections and any symptoms over the course of nine months. to follow. months, including whether they had taken a COVID test every week. Over the course of the study, 20% of patients who tested positive and reported no symptoms carried a variant of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene, called HLA-B*15:01. Participants who carried two copies of the variant “were more than eight times more likely to remain asymptomatic than those who carried other HLA variants.”

Researchers hope this discovery could lead to more innovations in vaccines and treatments.

“As we have all learned, preventing COVID infection has proven to be more difficult than we thought,” said Jill Hollenbach, an immunologist at the University of California San Francisco and co-author of the study. If we could design a vaccine that might not stop you from getting infected, but could handle the infection so easily that you no longer have symptoms, I would personally be very happy with that.”

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Long-term ‘brain fog’ from COVID can age the brain by a decade, according to a study

The Good Brigade/Getty ImagesThe Good Brigade/Getty Images

The Good Brigade/Getty Images

The ‘brain fog’ associated with long COVID-19 could be the cognitive equivalent of aging 10 years, PA Media reported.

Participants in a study from King’s College London were tested on memory, attention, reasoning, processing speed and motor control. Researchers found that those whose test scores were most affected by COVID were participants who had been experiencing COVID symptoms for 12 weeks or more; and in that group, the effect of the virus on test accuracy was “comparable in magnitude to the effect of a ten-year increase in age.” When a second round of testing was conducted, on average almost two years after the participants’ initial infection, there was no significant improvement in the scores.

“Our findings suggest that for people who lived with long-lasting symptoms after having COVID-19, the effects of the coronavirus on mental processes, such as the ability to remember words and shapes, are still noticeable almost two years ago on average. their first infection,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Nathan Cheetham.

“The result that COVID had no effect on performance in our tests for people who felt fully recovered, even if they had had symptoms for several months and could be considered people with long COVID, was good news.”

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