Traditional random controlled trials, study treatments in carefully selected populations under ideal conditions. This makes it difficult to translate results to the real world. Advances in information technology and artificial intelligence make it much easier to study the effects of the whole lifestyle on maintaining and recovering health in the real world. Gathering data about complex behaviors like lifestyle and the effects of so many variables on our health can provide an understanding of the patterns of change over time in the natural processes of living a healthier lifestyle.
The way to healthy longevity involves many factors including diet, exercise, meditation, and even art, music and literature can have positive effects on our health. Community classes and programs in self-care, tai chi, yoga, pilates, meditation, art, music, literature, and other minds/body therapies have the potential to improve the health of millions of people, yet the complexities of these behaviors in real-world settings make this an extremely difficult topic to study with any kind of scientific rigor.
With the help of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the University of Denver, we are currently working on a research project called:
Community Med School: A Study in Integrative Medicine and Lifelong Learning
The study’s purpose is to look at the effects of lifelong learning programs that offer many opportunities to support health literacy and empowerment in health promotion. This study is using the Qualtrics database at DU and its artificial intelligence features to increase the evidence base of the effects of integrative medicine and mind/body approaches in lifelong learning on global health measures assessing anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain interference, physical function, sleep disturbance, and ability to participate in social roles and activities, pain, cognitive function, and self-efficacy.
We hope to use this data to help close the gap between world-class research and community health promotion efforts, we intend to share best practices and research data by making the data available to others. This allows for replication and increasing statistical power. Data shall be shared internationally through, PROMIS Health Measures Scoring Service, Harvard Data-verse, and the Oxford International Roundtable.
In short, by building deeper connections between the fields of computer science and biomedical research, we can better define, build, and leverage robust, multidimensional datasets to answer pressing health research questions about how to help people restore health and encourage healthier lifestyles.
Applying AI to Whole Person Health Research – New NIH Initiative
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is co-leading a new trans–National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative designed to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in biomedical research that brings exciting new opportunities for researchers in the complementary and integrative health community. Among those research questions is one that is essential in NCCIH’s work to deepen our understanding of whole-person health: How does a less healthy person return to health?
Read more about Using Artificial Intelligence To Uncover the Path to Health Restoration
Using Artificial Intelligence To Uncover the Path to Health Restoration
Helene Langevin, M.D.
Director National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.
Program Director Division of Extramural Research
Applying AI to Whole Person Health Research
Among those research questions is one that is essential in NCCIH’s work to deepen our understanding of whole-person health: How does a less healthy person return to health? Take, for example, a healthy, moderately active person who becomes sedentary and, over the course of a year, gains weight and experiences increases in blood pressure, blood sugar, and lipids—as has likely happened to many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Does a year of healthier eating and exercise return that person to their original state of good health?
Salutogenesis “The Tao of Health”
How does salutogenesis—the process by which individuals move from a less healthy to a healthier state—work? While pathogenesis is extensively studied, salutogenesis is poorly understood and understudied. Is salutogenesis simply pathogenesis in reverse? Are there other mechanisms at play? If so, how can we promote them? Currently, these questions do not have answers.
Developing a better understanding of salutogenesis will involve many challenges, but the Bridge2AI program establishes a critical component for success—interdisciplinary collaboration. By bringing together experts from different fields at the outset, technological expertise can be married with the unique perspectives of complementary and integrative health researchers who understand the questions that need to be answered to effectively explore the bidirectional continuum of health.
This interdisciplinary model will help achieve the program’s core objective of defining and generating multilevel datasets most relevant to research questions and most amenable to machine learning. By bringing novel and transformative analytical methods to complementary and integrative health research, this unique collaboration could change the shape of the community’s work.
Events and Resources
Join our NCCIH colleague Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D., Director of our Division of Extramural Research, during a session devoted to the Bridge2AI initiative at the upcoming virtual Integrative Medicine & Health Symposium, that was held April 11–13. Researchers discuss the concepts to better understand the underlying pathways of salutogenesis using AI/ML.
This session was recorded and can be viewed online:
The session on YouTube for all to view.
- Introduction by Dr. Emmeline Edwards, director of the NCCIH Division of Extramural Research
- The Potential of Using Artificial Intelligence To Solve the Puzzle of Salutogenesis by Dr. Helene Langevin, NCCIH director
- The NIH Common Fund’s Bridge to Artificial Intelligence Program by Dr. Lanay Mudd, program director in the Clinical Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch of the NCCIH Division of Extramural Research
- Question and Answer Session moderated by Dr. Jeffrey Dusek, director of research at the University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network; associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Case Western Reserve University
We hope that you are intrigued and will consider how your expertise would be useful to an interdisciplinary team of researchers exploring the application of AI/ML to whole-person health.
For More Information
- Bridge2AI Funding Opportunities
- NIH Strategically, and Ethically, Building a Bridge to AI (Bridge2AI)
- NCCIH To Sponsor Three Sessions at the Integrative Medicine & Health SymposiumThe Potential of Using Artificial Intelligence To Solve the Puzzle of Salutogenesis