New Medical Calculators in Wolfram|Alpha

November 12, 2010
Tom Morrison
Posted by

The most fundamental mission of Wolfram|Alpha is to be the internet’s hub for all things computable. With this in mind, our medical data team has been combing through peer-reviewed journals, population-based surveys, and credible online health calculators to bring you the most complete, up-to-date, and easy-to-use library of medical calculations available anywhere on the web. This endeavor has been ongoing since the launch of Wolfram|Alpha more than a year ago, and can be demonstrated through queries such as “heart disease risk”, “male age 27, 175 lbs”, or “basal metabolic rate”.

Over the past couple of months, we have worked to implement over 20 new equations. For example, hematocrit levels outside the normal range are indicative of any number of health concerns ranging from dehydration to kidney disease. In circumstances where estimates of hematocrit are in need and only certain parameters are known, Wolfram|Alpha can be used to fill in the gaps and assess whether the estimated value falls within the normal range, given a number of personal attributes such as weight, height, sex, or age:

Hematocrit blood viscosity male age 20

Calcium in the blood is also a very important indicator of various health conditions, including complications of various types of wounds, hyperparathyroidism, and even osteosclerosis. Given total calcium and serum protein levels, Wolfram|Alpha can estimate the blood concentration of unbound ionized versus protein-bound serum calcium:

Ionized calcium in blood, serum protein 8.5 mg/dl

Additionally, Wolfram|Alpha will plot the input or predicted values of blood constituents within custom distributions weighted for the U.S. population:

Ionized calcium in blood, serum protein 8.5 mg/dl male age 65

Lastly, renal function is very important to the general health of all patients of all ages. Accordingly, if there is any indication of renal impairment, it is common for physicians to measure creatinine clearance rate. There are many methods to estimate creatinine clearance, but the more typical computations use serum creatinine, urine creatinine, and the total amount of excreted creatinine within the urine over a specified collection time. Using these dimensions, Wolfram|Alpha can compute an estimate of creatinine clearance, as well as offer an approximation of possible kidney disease stage based on standards used by the National Kidney Foundation:

Creatinine clearance female age 37

The equations highlighted above make up a small sample of many already available within Wolfram|Alpha. Though we have devoted a great deal of resources toward finding and sorting through all the health and medical calculations available, there is no doubt that we could benefit from the insight of outside health care professionals. Accordingly, it is important that you provide us with feedback so we can seek out the equations you desire. Also, if there are equations you know of, but that we are missing, let us know and we will add them.


Wolfram Alpha personnel can surely only scratch the surface as regards data and algorithms. Wouldn’t the resources be better spent in curating data assembled and maintained by others and stored on their databases to which W|A would maintain links? This would also draw attention to discrepancies within that data.

Posted by Brian Gilbert November 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm Reply

Calculations such as these for ABG’s, arterial blood gases, would be very helpful. As common and as important as renal function and blood chemistry data.

Posted by Anneke Van Couvering November 13, 2010 at 12:11 am Reply

Why don’t you list the “20 new calculations” that you’ve made? Besides the 2 or 3 you mention – are we merely to just try everything to see what you’ve initiated?

Posted by dj November 18, 2010 at 12:11 am Reply

    I have created a widget ‘Calculators in W|A V4′
    which shows the ones I have found. It contains a pop=up revealing the list and allowing you to choose one and submit it.

    I am in the process of adding the ones mentioned above.
    I suggest that W|A be amended to be able to answer the query
    ‘List your calculators’
    or something like that. It could probably be porgrammed to do it automatically. Of course it may already be able to do so with the right input.

    Posted by Brian Gilbert November 19, 2010 at 4:47 am Reply

      A further thought. Add to W|A the ability to
      Show calculator for this formula V=IR
      on which it would create the calculatoron the fly..

      Posted by Brian Gilbert November 19, 2010 at 5:26 am Reply

When will wolfram be able to solve word problems.

Posted by Sean November 18, 2010 at 10:49 pm Reply

Interesting!! Thanks!!

Posted by Triail Scaradh May 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm Reply
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