Medopad, Tencent, Parkinson's Centre of Excellence team up to develop AI for Parkinson's disease

By Leontina Postelnicu
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Dr. Wei Fan, head of Tencent's Medical AI Lab, and Dan Vahdat, CEO and founder of Medopad

Medopad is teaming up with Chinese tech mammoth Tencent and the Parkinson's Centre of Excellence at King's College Hospital in London to develop advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) to speed up diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

The research and development project follows an announcement made in February after Medopad, whose efforts range from remote monitoring apps to data-driven analytics, signed 15 trade deals worth more than £100M with a variety of Chinese organisations, including Tencent. 

Working with Professor Ray Chaudhuri, head of the Parkinson’s Centre of Excellence, the initiative will see them extend AI-powered movement assessment from "sport and exercise to medicine,” according to Dr. Wei Fan, who is leading Tencent’s Medical AI Lab. Preliminary results of the project were presented at an event organised in Hong Kong this week.

“Tencent provides the AI technology and capabilities for the video analysis of Parkinson’s disease motor function which will be used in Medopad’s mobile application,” Fan said. 

Current disease motor function assessments take more than half an hour in clinical settings and scores are ultimately assigned based on doctors’ observations, but Medopad and Tencent want to standardise the test through motion video analysis technology leveraging deep learning and image recognition.

“Medopad teaming up with Tencent gives us a quantification of the video assessment that can be performed through the Medopad app,” explained Professor Chaudhuri. 


Source: Medopad

The technology will enable patients to carry out the assessment remotely in three minutes, ten times faster than standard tests, and share the results with doctors in real-time to help them "predict preventable complications," said Medopad CEO and Founder Dan Vahdat. 

Recent figures published by Parkinson's UK indicate that around 145,000 people are living with Parkinson's disease in the UK, with the number expected to rise by nearly a fifth by 2025. There is wide variation in global estimates, but it is thought that as many as up to 10 million people worldwide are living with the condition.

Commenting on the announcement, Professor David Dexter, Deputy Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, told Babyforyou.net.ua:

“Artificial intelligence is an exciting area of growth in the quest to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

“Shortening assessment times would be an invaluable development for people with Parkinson’s and health professionals alike – with less time spent on assessments, they would be able to spend more time discussing things like the impact of Parkinson’s on people’s day-to-day lives and the effectiveness of medication.

“Parkinson’s UK is working hard with AI and technology-focused partners to develop more efficient and effective clinical trials and push forward the development of new drugs. There is so much potential at our fingertips and we’re harnessing that to help us find better treatments and a cure.”

Editor's note, 19 October: This article has been updated to include a statement from Parkinson's UK.

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