A virtual reality system can help diagnose Parkinson’s disease

DiagnaMed Holdings will develop a virtual reality and artificial intelligence (VR/AI Neuro) tool for the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

The company has acquired an exclusive worldwide intellectual property license from the KU Center for Technology Commercializationat the University of Kansas, for the development and commercial rights of Neuro VR/AI.

The system aims to aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of neurological disorders for clinical and telemedicine purposes.

“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. Press release.

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A doctor and a patient use a computer for a telemedicine visit.

Early and accurate diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease is crucial for appropriate treatment. However, for some patients, a correct diagnosis can be difficult, as the clinical assessment can take time and often requires patients to travel to another city to see a specialist.

There are not many remote procedures or adjuvant methods that can help clinicians conveniently and consistently assess patients with suspected neurological disorders.

VR/AI Neuro aims to remotely diagnose Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders using an inexpensive method to achieve an accurate diagnosis in less time and reducing transportation costs for patients.

The system uses a commercially available VR display, with an infrared camera built into the lens, to build a 3D virtual environment that assesses patients’ eye movements in videos, while interacting with a doctor who is in a location. different.

The VR/AI Neuro assesses eye movements, such as focusing on a point, smoothly chasing an object, or performing saccades. Saccades are rapid, abrupt, precise simultaneous movements of the eyes that are important for reading.

For the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, the system develops virtual tasks to obtain eye movements commonly associated with neurological disorders, such as abnormal saccades, fixation instability and eye tremors.

Research and development of this new system has been underway for some time and involves the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Augusta in the United States, as well as Osaka University in Japan.

Proof of concept study

The research team conducted a proof-of-concept study with nine patients with Parkinson’s disease and seven healthy controls, to test whether the VR/AI Neuro system could mimic tasks used for clinical assessment. Eye recordings were analyzed using eye tracking and image enhancement algorithms for short follow-up.

The results of this preliminary study showed that the VR/AI system could evoke five common types of eye movements usable for assessment, and two physicians could confirm three (out of four) abnormalities. The visualizations obtained were then evaluated for their potential role in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

Given the promising results, the next step will be to adapt the tests created in the original research to the updated VR/AI system and implement it in a clinical setting for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The company expects this milestone to be completed by mid-2023.

This new technology will complement the solutions offered by DiagnaMed for the digital diagnosis of neurological disorders.

These solutions include BrainAGE, an artificial intelligence device based on the electroencephalogram (EEG) to assess an individual’s brain age. The EEG is a test that measures electrical activity in the brain using small metal discs attached to the head. Assessing brain aging could be an important factor for early detection of mental and neurological disorders.

Tremor monitoring

The company is also developing brain tremor, a smart bracelet to detect and monitor tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. Such a device can provide data for the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and be a reliable tool for evaluating the effects of drugs. Researchers adjust the shape and size of the device to create a prototype that can be tested in clinical evaluation.

“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, including BRAIN AGE and BrainTremor, to ensure a comprehensive suite of assessment solutions that enable healthcare providers to effectively manage their patients’ conditions,” said Chianelli. .

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