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ChatGPT: How is it Transforming the Landscape of Medical Research?

Masahiro Kami, M.D., Ph.D.

President, Medical Governance Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan

Rapid Evolution in the Field of Artificial Intelligence Research

Recently, ChatGPT has been the subject of significant academic interest. On August 3rd, research findings concerning the utilization of ChatGPT in the Japanese National Nursing Examination were unveiled in Cureus (!/.) According to this study, GPT-3.5 attained an accuracy rate of 59.9%. Although this did not meet the passing criteria, the accuracy rate for GPT-4 was markedly enhanced, reaching 79.7%. Such outcomes indicate the swift progression in artificial intelligence research.

The first author of this paper is Mr. Yudai Kaneda, fifth year medical student at Hokkaido University. Since June 2021, he has also been engaged as an intern at the Medical Governance Research Institute. This publication was co-authored in collaboration with Dr. Tetsuya Tanimoto and Dr. Akihiko Ozaki, both of whom are affiliated with the institute. An overview of his endeavors readily underscores the dramatic transformations technology is instigating in medical research.

Mr. Kaneda's prowess in academic writing is evident, and as of September 9, 2023, his contributions are prominently featured in the U.S. National Library of Medicine database (PubMed) with 44 original research articles and opinion pieces attributed to him. Notably, he serves as the first author in 22 of these publications, showcasing his remarkable achievements in the field.

Furthermore, if one were to consider papers not indexed in PubMed, as well as those "in press," Mr. Kaneda has authored 30 original research articles and opinion pieces as the first author since April 2023. It's noteworthy that his inaugural publication in English was only in March of the previous year, indicating a remarkable augmentation in his scholarly capacities in just a year and a half. Throughout my tenure guiding numerous young individuals, I have yet to encounter an individual of his unparalleled caliber.

What sets him apart: A proactive spirit and incredible adaptability

It is worth looking into the background of young talents like him.

Mr. Kaneda was born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland in 1996. His dad is German, and his mom is Japanese. He grew up in a town called Arbon in Switzerland and moved to Japan when he started elementary school. He speaks English and Japanese fluently and can also have basic conversations in German. He went from a top local high school, Tokai High, to one of Japan's top-rated universities, Hokkaido University's School of Medicine.

Of course, he is a bright guy with a lot of passion. Also great at speaking and writing in English. But many others have these skills too. What makes him stand out is his proactive spirit and his incredible adaptability.

Even under the COVID-19 pandemic, he studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh from September 2021 to June 2022. At the Medical Governance Research Institute, he acquired clinical reasoning skills from Dr. Tanimoto and Dr. Ozaki.

He often remarks, "I can never fully express my gratitude to my mentors." Like many young individuals, he grapples with various concerns and occasionally experiences moments of despair. However, he possesses a remarkable resilience that allows him to swiftly recover. Such experiences undoubtedly contribute to his continuous growth.

Effective Strategies for Utilizing ChatGPT in Academic Research

Recently, he has incorporated ChatGPT into his research writing process. Usually, he compiles the necessary facts for a paper and constructs the draft in Japanese. Subsequently, he employs ChatGPT to 'translate' the text into academic English.

He states, 'Even when considering grammatical nuances, the translations produced by ChatGPT, especially the premium version GPT-4, require minimal revisions.'

I, too, am an avid user of ChatGPT. I publish approximately 15 columns monthly, and for the past few months, I have been utilizing ChatGPT for editing. Regrettably, on many occasions, the prose refined by ChatGPT reads more fluently than my original drafts.

Continued use of ChatGPT facilitates mastery of various tips. I have discussed this with Mr. Kaneda, and our perspectives on key considerations align perfectly.

He advises, 'A crucial strategy when using ChatGPT is not to input extensive passages at once. Translating large blocks of text can sometimes lead to the so-called hallucination phenomenon, resulting in missed translations. Checking such extensive outputs can be boring. It is vital, for a harmonious human-ChatGPT collaboration, to input text in short segments of 3-4 sentences and verify each translation separately.' I completely agree.

Mr. Kaneda began leveraging ChatGPT only from this April.

'Up until last year, I was manually proofreading English texts. However, nowadays, I've been able to largely rely on ChatGPT for this task, allowing me to focus on crafting new topics, which ChatGPT cannot generate. My productivity has approximately doubled,' he remarks.

I would highly recommend that readers consider harnessing the capabilities of ChatGPT in their academic writing endeavors.

Originally published in Japanese in iryotims , Sep 20, 2023


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