In the near future, we might use a virtual reality headset to see a growing fetus instead of the standard ultrasound.

The technology, still experimental, continues to be utilized on 30 pregnancies in Brazil. Using the model, researchers can begin to see the exterior of the fetus, along with inside the respiratory tract to ensure that doctors could ideally see abnormalities.

"The 3D fetal models along with virtual reality immersive technologies may enhance our understanding of fetal anatomical features and may be used for educational purposes and as a method for parents to visualize their unborn infant," study author Dr. Heron Werner Jr. said in a release.

While novel, the technology, might additionally be too expensive for use in every pregnancy compared to traditional ultrasound.

We are still learning about the effects the Zika virus has on the brain, especially in infants who get the virus before birth. And imaging is integral to increasing that understanding and improving treatments.

As a result of these technologies, the researchers could figure out a couple crucial things, including more signs that Zika can cause brain damage in babies with and without something, microcephaly which other studies have not been unable to demonstrate at the same time.

Beyond putting together images that are better, researchers are also trying to determine if there's a way we could assess these pictures in a more intelligent way, with all the aid of machine learning.

One area where that's being explored is in skin cancer. One study released by IBM implied that the company's computer could identify melanoma than dermatologists, but weare going to have to wait and see more validation before determining the extent to which machine learning could help with skin cancer screening. More discussions on the topic can be found at pain forum

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Mary Littleton

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