A mother has made a surprising revelation that it was ChatGPT which gave her the perfect diagnosis for chronic pain which her son had been suffering for three years and could not even be solved after visiting medical specialists several times.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the mother bought a bounce house for her two young children and soon her son Alex, who was 4-year-old then, started to experience pain.
“(Our nanny) started telling me, ‘I have to give him Motrin every day, or he has these gigantic meltdowns’,” Courtney, who asked not to use her last name to protect her family’s privacy, told TODAY.com. “If he had Motrin, he was totally fine."
She took her son to a dentist after Alex started to chew things.
For three years, Alex's mother kept searching for the cause of his pain.
The beginning of the end of the journey came earlier this year, when Courtney finally got some answers from an unlikely source, ChatGPT, Today.com reported.
The frustrated mom made an account and shared with the artificial intelligence platform everything she knew about her son's symptoms and all the information she could gather from his MRIs.
“We saw so many doctors. We ended up in the ER at one point. I kept pushing,” she said. “I really spent the night on the (computer) … going through all these things."
So, when ChatGPT suggested a diagnosis of tethered cord syndrome, "it made a lot of sense", she recalled.
The child, who was then showing various symptoms, could not get a proper diagnosis for his disease even after visiting 17 different doctors over three years.
She eventually found tethered cord syndrome and joined a Facebook group for families of children with it. Their stories sounded like Alex's. She scheduled an appointment with a new neurosurgeon and told her she suspected Alex had tethered cord syndrome. The doctor looked at his MRI images and knew exactly what was wrong with Alex, reports Today.
With tethered cord syndrome, “the spinal cord is stuck to something. It could be a tumour in the spinal canal. It could be a bump on a spike of bones. It could just be too much fat at the end of the spinal cord,” Dr. Holly Gilmer, a paediatric neurosurgeon at the Michigan Head & Spine Institute, who treated Alex, told TODAY.com. "The abnormality can’t elongate ... and it pulls.”
After the diagnosis, Alex underwent surgery to fix his health problem a few weeks ago. The child is still recovering.
What is tethered cord syndrome?
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons website, tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurologic disorder caused by tissue attachments that limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column.
"These attachments cause an abnormal stretching of the spinal cord. This syndrome is closely associated with spina bifida. It is estimated that 20-50% of children with spina bifida defects that are repaired shortly after birth will require surgery at some point to untether the spinal cord," read the website.