Can AI Detect Parkinson’s Disease from a Video? Tencent and Medopad Team up to Find Out

AI Brain

Medopad, a U.K.-based medical firm, and China-based Tencent Holdings have teamed up on a project that will attempt to harness artificial intelligence in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

The two entities are combining their expertise to develop a system that will monitor patients with the disease through smartphone apps, Bloomberg reported. The new monitoring system will allow doctors to set new drug doses and monitor patient care, all without their having to come to a hospital, Wei Fan, head of medial AI research at Tencent told Bloomberg. Fan added that care is not only about what happens in a medical clinic, but is also about real-world conditions. He said the Chinese tech giant opted to pair with Medopad because of that company’s expertise in monitoring patients.

The artificial intelligence platform will be used to measure deterioration of patients without them having to wear sensors. The smartphone camera will capture the way patients move in order to determine the severity of their symptoms, Fan told the BBC. Through the monitoring process, clinicians should be able to monitor the “motor function assessment process” through smartphone technology. Typical monitoring takes about 30 minutes, but the two companies hope that their technology will be able to reduce the amount of monitoring time to under five minutes, according to the BBC report.

Dan Vahdat, chief executive officer of Medopad, told the BBC that the partnership with Tencent will allow the company to impact a billion patients around the world. Vahdat said for that kind of scale, it needed to partner with a company like Tencent that has an international reach.  

Medopad has developed a number of Parkinson’s-related apps, including ones that allow doctors to replicate strength and movement tests – the kind that normally have to be observed in person, Bloomberg reported. Another app helps doctors determine fine hand movements in Parkinson’s patients. The app allows doctors to observe the opening and closing of a fist. The app analyzes the movement for range and speed, Bloomberg added. The new AI technology being developed will automatically score the tests for the doctors, according to the report.

The artificial intelligence platform will raise an alert and notify treating physicians that changes in treatment may be needed, Vahdat told Bloomberg. He said it will all happen through the smartphone and doctors will notify patients that they need to come in for a checkup.

The two companies believe the artificial intelligence platform could be applied to other conditions such as childhood brain cancers. The movement of children could be monitored to ensure that medications aren’t interfering with mobility or that the disease is not worsening mobility.

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