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How Digitized Human Heart Data Is Being Used in Big Data Analysis

Big data analysis has taken on many forms in its relatively recent history, but a team of doctors based in London have certainly pushed it to its limits. With the aim of furthering studies into the human heart, including early detection and advanced treatment of common diseases, a team of scientists and doctors with Hammersmith Hospital's Clinical Science Centre has assumed the task of collecting, collecting and categorizing the data of 1,600 human hearts into their big data store centers.While the latest announcement out of London is even comparable to that of the latest science fiction novels, it is indeed a science fact.

Although big data storage and analysis is commonly used for the purposes of business intelligence, there has been a recent uptick of doctors and scientists who are using big data analytics to bolster their own research.

For instance, a research team with the University of Southern California's Neuroimaging and Informatics department pioneered a study of 3D brain scan images, where they successful cataloged the information of 30,000 human brains. The information requires so much storage space that no less than 10,000 laptops would be needed to archive the information, and this is exactly how big data storage and analysis is going to penetrate the areas of academia and science.

Another example highlights a brand new radio telescope device, which will be utilized in both Africa and Australia as a means of collecting, analyzing and archiving. Known as a Square Kilometre Array, or SKA for short, these large-scale systems will be used to support research into physics, astrophysics, cosmology and a number of other areas. Combined, the two SKA sites are expected to gather enough data in one year to completely fill up 300 million-million laptops, which is approximately 150 times more data than is generated by all of the world's Internet traffic throughout the course of a full year.

Dr. Declan O'Regan, one of the leading participants in the new initiative, explained his team's motivation for the project, as he was quoted in a recent interview as saying: "There is a really complicated relationship between people's genes and heart disease, and we are still trying to unravel what that is. But by getting really clear 3D pictures of the heart we hope to be able to get a much better understanding of the cause and effect of heart disease and give the right patients the right treatment at the right time." He went on to say: "There are often subtle signs of early disease that are really difficult to pick up even if you know what to look for. A computer is very sensitive to picking up subtle signs of a disease before they become a problem."

Organizing the data collected from the 1,600 human hearts will still need to be analyzed, categorized and stored for later studies, however, and this presents a challenge. Thankfully, a dedicated team of researchers with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, has already begun the tedious job. While there is no established deadline for the project, regular updates will be provided from AAAS.


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