DiagnaMed Holdings to commercialize virtual reality technology that diagnoses neurological disorders

VR glasses provide an immersive experience for an elderly man
Credit: mikkelwilliam/Getty Images

Digital diagnostics company DiagnaMed Holdings today announced that it has acquired the exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Kansas Technology Transfer Company for the development and commercialization of a novel virtual reality (VR) and intelligence neurodiagnostic system artificial intelligence (AI) for the evaluation, diagnosis and monitoring of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

The system, called Neuro VR/AI, has been developed over the past several years by the University of Kansas Medical Center, Osaka University, and Augusta University and is designed for use in clinical settings with telehealth applications. The technology leverages VR goggles with an infrared camera built into the lens and emulates a real world environment and common daily tasks to help measure a patient’s ability to fixate on a point, smoothly pursue an object, or performing saccades (rapid eye movements between two points). By measuring eye movements related to these tasks, VR/AI Neuro’s technology is designed to elucidate eye movements commonly associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as abnormal saccades, square wave jerks and eye tremors.

The research team evaluated the tool with nine patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and seven healthy controls to see how it compared to current clinical diagnostic methods. The researchers then applied eye tracking algorithms and image enhancement to the eye recordings collected during the evaluation and conducted a short follow-up study with two physicians for evaluation. The results showed that the VR/AI Neuro system interface could elicit five common types of movements usable for assessment, physicians could confirm three out of four abnormalities, and the visualizations were considered potentially useful for diagnosis.

Early and accurate diagnosis remains a challenge for neurodegenerative diseases. Assessments can be time-consuming, patients often have to travel long distances for office visits with specialists in metropolitan areas or different cities, and misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment. The hope is that emerging technologies leveraging AI that can track and emulate a patient’s daily tasks may be a new, more accurate tool for diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases.

“We are excited to advance the development of a new virtual reality and artificial intelligence neurodiagnostic system that will aim to change the way neurodegenerative diseases are diagnosed and managed,” said Fabio Chianelli, Chairman of the Board of administration of DiagnaMed. “We are focused on developing and commercializing next-generation digital diagnostic tools for brain health in mental and neurological disorders. The VR/AI Neuro system complements our product development programs. »

Other products in DiagnaMed’s brain health portfolio include BrainAGE and BrainTremor, for applications in mental health and neurological disorders.

BrainAGE is an EEG-based machine learning technique for assessing whether an individual’s brain is aging faster or slower than is typical for healthy individuals. Some people’s brains function as if they were older than their chronological age; other people’s brains work as if they were younger. BrainAGE provides a measure of general brain health by detecting the combined effects of physiological, pathological, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that affect the rate at which a brain ages.

brain tremor combines smartwatch technology and EEG measurements to detect tremors and measure cognitive and brain activity for Parkinson’s disease. It relies on an AI algorithm to help diagnose and manage disease, areas of growing interest for researchers and clinicians.

DiagnaMed says its goal is to complete development of a prototype of BrainAge and BrainTremor for clinical research, with a view to commercialization in 2023.

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