ChatGPT Found the Right Diagnosis

ChatGPT Found the Right Diagnosis for a Boy’s Chronic Pain: Artificial Intelligence Trends

Here’s an example of good things that ChatGPT can do. After seeing 17 doctors over 3 years for chronic pain, ChatGPT found the right diagnosis.

According to (A boy saw 17 doctors over 3 years for chronic pain. ChatGPT found the right diagnosis, written by Meghan Holohan and available here), a woman named Courtney (who asked not to use her last name to protect her family’s privacy) bought a bounce house for her two young children. Soon after, her son, Alex, then 4, began experiencing pain.

“(Our nanny) started telling me, ‘I have to give him Motrin every day, or he has these gigantic meltdowns,’” Courtney said. “If he had Motrin, he was totally fine.”


Then Alex began chewing things, so Courtney took him to the dentist. What followed was a three-year search for the cause of Alex’s increasing pain and eventually other symptoms, including pain, grinding teeth, lack of growth and dragging his left leg.

No matter how many doctors the family saw, the specialists would only address their individual areas of expertise, Courtney says.

“Nobody’s willing to solve for the greater problem,” she adds. “Nobody will even give you a clue about what the diagnosis could be.”

In total, they visited 17 different doctors over three years. But Alex still had no diagnosis that explained all his symptoms. An exhausted and frustrated Courtney signed up for ChatGPT and began entering his medical information, hoping to find a diagnosis.

“I went line by line of everything that was in his (MRI notes) and plugged it into ChatGPT,” she says. “I put the note in there about … how he wouldn’t sit crisscross applesauce. To me, that was a huge trigger (that) a structural thing could be wrong.”

She eventually found tethered cord syndrome and joined a Facebook group for families of children with it. Their stories sounded like Alex’s. She scheduled an appointment with a new neurosurgeon and told her she suspected Alex had tethered cord syndrome. The doctor looked at his MRI images and knew exactly what was wrong with Alex.

“She said point blank, ‘Here’s occula spinal bifida, and here’s where the spine is tethered,” Courtney says. ChatGPT found the right diagnosis.

Tethered cord syndrome occurs when the tissue in the spinal cord forms attachments that limit movement of the spinal cord, causing it to stretch abnormally, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

After receiving the diagnosis, Alex underwent surgery to fix his tethered cord syndrome a few weeks ago. While Alex is still recovering from the surgery he had to address the issue, Alex’s mom can already see the joy on his face now.

Hat tip to Nick Wittenberg for the info on the story. We may talk a lot about ChatGPT’s shortcomings and potential hallucinations, but it also has tremendous potential to do a lot of good.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised that ChatGPT could do what 17 doctors couldn’t? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Image created using Microsoft Bing’s Image Creator Powered by DALL-E, using the term “generative ai stethoscope”.

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