I have to admit to a little bit of self-interest in this story, as someone I love has Type 1 diabetes (it used to be called Juvenile Diabetes). The Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation (JDRF) and IBM have commenced a new collaboration to apply machine learning in order to identify the factors leading to the onset to this autoimmune disease.
IBM scientists will look across at least three different data sets and apply machine learning algorithms to help find patterns and factors at play,
The onset of Type 1 diabetes is sudden and takes people by surprise. While there seems to be a genetic component - if you have a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, there is an increased likelihood of your other children of being diagnosed - there may be other variables.
The research will look across the data sets in order to create a foundational set of features that is common to all data sets. The models that will be produced will quantify the risk for Type 1 diabetes from the combined dataset to help the JDRF to explore a number of data-driven models for predicting onset.
While there isn't, yet, a cure for Type 1 diabetes the hope is that if a model can be established to assist with predicting the onset then this could lead to a cure rather than the current treatment model of multiple insulin injections each day.