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New Frontiers in Medicine

Editor’s Letter

Artificial intelligence though conceptualised in 1955 by one of its founding fathers, John McCarthy, has begun to gain popular interest in recent years. As first attempts to copy the human cognitive abilities, artificial intelligence has since evolved to become more sophisticated, demanding more powerful computing power. It is no surprise then for the fields of medicine and healthcare to take advantage of artificial intelligence tools such as machine learning and deep learning to create the new frontiers of medicine for the future.

On our cover story, we feature the collaborative work of clinician-scientists, computer scientists and data analysts from Singapore and Guangzhou, China in developing an artificial intelligence tool for outlining tumours in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. (p. 28)

Besides consistently having to keep up with technological advancements in the medical field, doctors and healthcare professionals regularly review guidelines for clinical practices so as to ensure utmost safety and recovery for the patients. We also feature commentary on current barriers to implementation of guidelines in preventing surgical site infection in Asia Pacific. (p. 34)

In this February 2020 issue we bring you a range of topics, in the Columns section we feature two start-ups, one hoping to change the medical surgeries are conducted using artificial intelligence and robotics (p. 14) while the other is developing healthier food options to cater to diabetics and the health-conscious. (p. 20) Shifting to geriatric medicine we showcase highlights from a recently conducted cross-sectional study in Singapore to fill knowledge gaps in formulating effective public health strategies for healthy ageing among the elderly. (p. 16)

Moving over to Spotlights of the month, we have Celine Siow, Regional Vice President for Asia and Japan at Alteryx to share with us the importance of data analytical tools for the healthcare professional. (p. 38) Also, in Spotlights is an exclusive interview by Pearl Gan, Photographer who is passionate about documenting the frontlines of the fight against infectious diseases in countries across the Asia Pacific. (p. 42)

In the first two months of 2020, news headlines have been flooded with coverage of the novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV at the time. Scientists and healthcare professionals are racing to find a vaccine and diagnostic tool for the new virus that first emerged from the city of Wuhan, China. Governments are also doing their part to implement stricter travel policies and hygiene practices. Other than fighting this invisible enemy – the coronavirus – authorities are also battling the spread of misinformation. With the internet at the palm of our hands, false reports can reach a large audience in a matter of minutes. Other public health experts from reputable institutions have also provided information support through podcasts, YouTube videos, and commentaries on live television. All these were done for the public to have reliable and accurate sources of information on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Our hearts go out to all those affected with the virus and the medical professionals at the frontlines of this epidemic. Let us all do our part by staying vigilant and maintaining good hygiene to prevent further spread of the virus.

Deborah Emmanuel Seah Qing En