ChatGPT cracks medical mystery, diagnoses 4-year-old's rare condition after 17 doctors couldn't

Sweta Gupta
Sweta GuptaSep 13, 2023 | 15:41

ChatGPT cracks medical mystery, diagnoses 4-year-old's rare condition after 17 doctors couldn't

The AI chatbot diagnosed the disease after going through all the medical reports. (Photo Credits: Getty Images)

When we discuss the encroachment of AI into our lives, it truly means that it is infiltrating every facet of our existence, and there appears to be no bounds to its progression.

In a remarkable development, one woman has attributed her discovery of the correct diagnosis for her four-year-old son's persistent pain to ChatGPT.


  • According to a report from Today, Courtney shared that her four-year-old son, Alex, was grappling with a toothache, severe meltdowns, and stunted growth.
  • When Alex began chewing on objects, she took him to the dentist, suspecting that his molars might be the source of his discomfort. However, the dentist ruled out dental issues and advised a visit to an orthodontist who specialized in airway obstruction.
  • The orthodontist uncovered that Alex had a small palate and teeth, which made nighttime breathing difficult. They provided an expander, but its effect was only temporary.
  • Subsequently, Courtney noticed that Alex had ceased growing taller. They consulted a pediatrician, who attributed it to possible pandemic-related issues and suggested physical therapy.
We saw so many doctors. We ended up in the ER at one point. I kept pushing. Nobody's willing to solve the greater problem. Nobody will even give you a clue about what the diagnosis could be.
- Courtney

Despite consulting with 17 doctors over three years, Alex's perplexing symptoms remained undiagnosed.

ChatGPT to the rescue

Seeking an alternative approach, she turned to an unexpected source, signing up for ChatGPT.

  • She conveyed her son's symptoms and provided all the details from his medical reports.

  • "I meticulously reviewed every detail in his MRI notes and input them into ChatGPT. I noted the mention of how he wouldn't sit cross-legged, which signaled to me that there might be a structural issue," she explained.

  • In response, ChatGPT suggested that Alex might be grappling with a rare neurological condition called tethered cord syndrome.

  • Courtney then discovered a Facebook group for families of children with this syndrome and consulted a neurosurgeon, who reviewed Alex's MRI images and identified the issue.


Alex recently underwent surgery to address his tethered cord syndrome and is currently in the recovery phase.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by tissue attachments that limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column. These attachments result in abnormal stretching of the spinal cord. This syndrome is closely associated with spina bifida.

ChatGPT has a history of aiding in medical diagnoses, and this isn't the first case.

Back in March, a Twitter user shared an astonishing story of how this AI tool successfully pinpointed the correct diagnosis for their pet dog, a feat that had baffled human doctors.

This story stands as a testament to the potential of AI in healthcare, offering innovative solutions and answers when conventional methods fall short. With ChatGPT and similar AI tools continuously making advancements, the future of medicine is taking an exciting and promising turn.

Last updated: September 13, 2023 | 15:41
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