An Intelligent System for the Low-Cost Early Diagnosis and Real-Time Monitoring of Parkinson’s Disease using Machine Learning, Signal Processing and Wearable Technology.
by Shreyas Kar
I built an intelligent system, which I named NextCare to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease early and to monitor motor disease progression in real-time to improve the care of patients suffering with Parkinson’s Disease, abbreviated as PD, which is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting over a million Americans.
Before I go into greater detail, I would like to talk about the motivation behind NextCare. I became interested in this subject when one of my family friends was diagnosed with late stage PD. After researching further on this topic, I learned that Parkinson’s diagnosis had two major problems, late diagnosis and inaccurate diagnosis. Most patients with PD receive their diagnosis late in the disease course when treatments are far less effective as they lose 60% of dopamine by then. Further, according to a study by Hughes and associates, PD diagnosis was inaccurate 25 percent of the time.
Once a diagnosis is made, doctors prescribe treatments to reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. However, treatment needs to be monitored regularly for effectiveness. Elderly PD patients cannot make many trips to clinics. As you can understand, these problems have gotten much worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, Recent studies concluded that there is a huge shortage of neurologists in the US than the demand.
To help solve these problems, I built NextCare. NextCare is an intelligent system consisting of a 3D printed wearable device and an app for data collection and monitoring. I developed algorithms to detect PD from a 30 second voice sample and to visualize and quantify the most common symptom of Parkinson’s Disease and put these together in the NextCare system. NextCare provides a mobile app, so neurologists can continuously monitor disease progression remotely and get instant diagnosis results.
Specifically, This is a flowchart of the system. NextCare performs two major functions - diagnosis and monitoring of Parkinson’s Disease. Diagnosis is performed via voice patterns, because this is one of the first biomarkers of Parkinson’s Disease. For monitoring disease progression and efficacy of treatment, tremor is monitored.