A four-year-old boy suffered mysterious symptoms including severe pain and growth issues for over three years before his mother finally found answers using artificial intelligence.

Years of Unexplained Symptoms

Alex’s mother, who declined to provide her full name, told reporters her son’s issues began when he was just four years old. He experienced intense pain that required daily Motrin, chewing behaviors, headaches, leg dragging, and lack of growth.

Desperate for answers, his mother took him to 17 different doctors across three years including dentists, pediatricians, neurologists and more. But none could provide a unifying diagnosis for Alex’s various symptoms.

His mother recalls the frustrating process, “We saw so many doctors. We ended up in the ER at one point. I kept pushing. I really spent the night on the (computer) going through all these things.”

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Breakthrough Using AI

Frustrated after years of failed doctor visits, Alex’s mother turned to ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, as a last resort. She entered all of her son’s symptoms and MRI results into the system.

After processing the data, ChatGPT suggested Alex may have a spinal cord condition called tethered cord syndrome. This rare syndrome happens when tissue attachments limit the movement of the spinal cord.

His mother found a Facebook group of parents with children suffering from the same condition. Their stories matched Alex’s wide-ranging symptoms.

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Confirming the Diagnosis

Armed with the AI’s suggested diagnosis of tethered cord syndrome, Alex’s mother convinced a neurosurgeon to review her son’s case. The doctor took a fresh look at Alex’s MRI results. She confirmed the young boy did have the rare spinal cord syndrome.

Alex recently underwent surgery to correct the condition. He is currently recovering from the procedure.

While AI systems like ChatGPT have limitations, this case shows their potential to aid in complex medical mysteries when human experts fall short. Alex went undiagnosed for years before his mother input his data and found a possible cause.

His mother hopes their story will prompt doctors to listen when parents bring AI-assisted diagnoses to the table. Artificial intelligence offers a new tool that, combined with medical expertise, can lead to breakthroughs.

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