Chinese tech giant Tencent has partnered with London-based medical firm Medopad to use AI for earlier Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Earlier diagnosis of any medical problem is always good. Often it increases the chance of successful treatment, minimises suffering, and can increase life expectancy in terminal cases.
Parkinson’s is a degenerative affliction without any known cure. Caught early, however, and measures can be taken which helps to slow its progression.
Speaking to Forbes, Medopad CEO Dan Vahdat said:
“Our partnership with Tencent comes from a shared vision to change the future of healthcare as we know it.
In combining Medopad’s medical expertise and Tencent’s technical capabilities, we hope to provide the technology needed to support clinicians to predict preventable complications for people with Parkinson’s disease.”
The disease affects the central nervous system, predominately the motor system. As such, the most obvious symptoms early on are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty walking.
Tencent and Medopad use AI trained on existing video footage of patients to spot for concerning symptoms. The video analysis was conducted in collaboration with Kings College Hospital in London.
Both companies hope their system will reduce how long it takes for a motor function assessment to be performed from over 30 minutes to less than three. Speeding up diagnosis helps more people to begin treatment faster.
Medopad is known for using wearables for its healthcare solutions, but the AI system will not require any physical sensors or devices to be worn. Reducing the amount of hardware required helps to reduce cost and complexity so more healthcare providers can get started.
The firms are not the only companies looking to use AI to improve healthcare (in fact, we’ve got a whole category dedicated to it – if you’re so inclined.)
Most AI healthcare developments we’ve covered focus on the scourge of cancer, which now affects one in two people. Almost everyone has either had it or knows someone close to them.
Back in August, we covered how AI is reducing how long it takes to produce cancer treatment plans from days to potentially minutes. For those undergoing treatment, AI is even stepping in to help make treatment more bearable.
Tencent and Medopad are delivering another example of how AI can have a huge impact on healthcare, and not just for cancer.
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