In 2007, I spent the summer before my junior year of college removing little bits of brain from rats, growing them in tiny plastic dishes, and poring over the neurons in each one. For three months, I spent three or four hours a day, five or six days a week, in a small room, peering through a microscope and snapping photos of the brain cells. The room was pitch black, save for the green glow emitted by the neurons. I was looking to see whether a certain growth factor could protect the neurons from degenerating the way they do in patients with Parkinson's disease. This kind of work, which is common in neuroscience research, requires time and a borderline pathological attention to detail.
Syneos Health Communications surveyed around 800 patients in three disease areas (atrial fibrillation, breast cancer, and Type 2 diabetes), as well as 200 Parkinson's disease caregivers. Has the surge in the use of artificial intelligence in and around healthcare touched the lives of those patients and caregivers?
The artificial intelligence company BenevolentAI is collaborating with two UK charities to use AI to identify ideal drug candidates for treating Parkinson's disease. BenevolentAI, Europe's largest private AI company, is collaborating with Parkinson's UK and The Cure Parkinson's Trust (CPT), two UK charities, to repurpose at least three existing drugs and identify two novel drug targets to treat Parkinson's disease. The collaboration underscores the growing use and multiple applications of AI in drug discovery. BenevolentAI's software uses a computational method known as a five-layer neural network to develop models that can predict the blood-brain barrier penetration and other properties of potential drug candidates. The software's judgment is continuously updated and improved using machine learning algorithms and feedback from experienced biomedical users.
Question Can a smartphone be used to quantify Parkinson disease motor symptom severity? Findings In this study, a machine learning approach was able to generate an objective severity score for Parkinson disease from smartphone sensor data. The score captured intraday symptom fluctuations, correlated strongly with current standard rating scales, and detected response to dopaminergic therapy. Meaning A smartphone-derived severity score for Parkinson disease is feasible and provides an objective measure of motor symptoms inside and outside the clinic that could be valuable for clinical care and therapeutic development. Importance Current Parkinson disease (PD) measures are subjective, rater-dependent, and assessed in clinic.
Machine Learning is the practice of using algorithms to parse data, learn from it, and then make a determination or prediction about something in the world. This is at its most basic. Rather than hand-coding software routines with a specific set of instructions to accomplish a particular task, the machine is "trained". By using large amounts of data and algorithms that give it the ability to learn how to perform the task. Deep Learning enables many practical applications of Machine Learning and by extension the overall field of AI.
British scientists have developed a lightweight and highly sensitive brain imaging device that can be worn as a helmet, allowing the patient to move about naturally. Results from tests of the scanner showed that patients were able to stretch, nod and even drink tea or play table tennis while their brain activity was being recorded, millisecond by millisecond, by the magnetoencephalography (MEG) system. Researchers who developed the device and published their results in the journal Nature said they hoped the new scanner would improve research and treatment for patients who can't use traditional fixed MEG scanners. This could include children with epilepsy, babies, or patients with disorders like Parkinson's disease. British scientists have developed a lightweight and highly sensitive brain imaging device that can be worn as a helmet, allowing the patient to move about naturally.
Three times a day I take a drug called levodopa. I take it because my brain does not produce enough dopamine, without it my hands and feet shake and I have difficulty getting my body to do what I want it to do. These are symptoms of Parkinson's disease and mean that many of my dopamine producing neurons have died. But, thanks to levodopa, I can feed my brain synthetic dopamine. It is an incredible little drug that we discovered to be naturally produced in the broad bean plant, pictured here.
MIT researchers have devised a miniaturized system that can deliver tiny quantities of medicine to brain regions as small as 1 cubic millimeter. This type of targeted dosing could make it possible to treat diseases that affect very specific brain circuits, without interfering with the normal function of the rest of the brain, the researchers say.