The One Show: Michael J. Fox on hopes to find Parkinsons cure
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A prevalent symptom of Parkinson’s disease is hypomimia, which is the term for reduced facial expressions. A new study has looked at whether the disease can be identified through facial expressions, and suggests a high degree of accuracy.
The researchers analysed the facial action units from 1812 videos of 604 individuals.
Of these, 61 had Parkinson’s disease and 543 did not. The participants had a mean age 63 years old.
In these videos, participants were asked to make several facial expressions. A smiling, disgusted, and surprised face, followed by a neutral face.
“Using techniques from computer vision and machine learning, we objectively measured the variance of the facial muscle movements and used it to distinguish between individuals with and without Parkinson’s disease,” states the report, which has been published in npj Digital Medicine journal.
The study finds the tool could correctly identify Parkinson’s patients based on their facial expressions with an accuracy of 95.6 percent, compared to the 92 percent prediction accuracy reported for existing top class video analysis that relies on limb movements.
Not all individuals with the disease show every symptom.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over a period of years.
A person with Parkinson’s disease can experience a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms, some of which can be spotted in the face.
The researchers stated that using facial expressions as a future digital biomarker for the disease, “could be potentially transformative for patients in need of remote diagnosis”. For example, while we are in the midst of COVID.
The three main symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremors, slow movement, and having stiff muscles.
Another common sign of the condition is losing your sense of smell, which is also known as anosmia.
Depression and anxiety have been linked to Parkinson’s, as well as difficulty sleeping.
Problems with memory might also be caused by Parkinson’s disease, according to the NHS.
Some Parkinson’s patients may have balance problems, which makes them more susceptible to falls.
There are about 145,000 people in the UK living with Parkinson’s disease.
It’s thought around 1 in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease.
The NHS states: “See a GP if you’re concerned that you may have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“They’ll ask about the problems you’re experiencing and may refer you to a specialist for further tests.
There’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms.
Parkinson’s UK, a leading charity for the disease, states that it is “pushing to deliver a new treatment for Parkinson’s by the end of 2024”.
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