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How Microsoft's Video Game Tech Could Help Ms Patients


The AssessMS system in action.

Microsoft, working with Novartis and three clinics in Europe, has created a prototype intelligent-camera system to track the progress of multiple sclerosis.

Credit: Microsoft Corp.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) may eventually have the option of using an intelligent-camera system to track the disease's progress.

Physicians currently rely on physical movement tests that are repeated at each appointment to determine the severity of the disease. Microsoft, working with Novartis and three MS clinics in Europe, created a prototype system mounted on a Kinect motion-sensing camera on a screen.

Patients were asked to perform movements such as extending their arms and holding still, or touching their extended hand to the tip of their nose and then doing it again with their eyes closed. The camera collected precise data on the patient's movements, indicating the degree of impairment.

Neurology experts scored the video clips to teach the software's algorithm how to recognize the degree of impairment. The software analyzed 150 to 300 videos for each movement, completing the initial phase of the project in December.

The initiative will expand to five additional clinics and hospitals this year to obtain more patient videos to fine-tune the algorithms.

"The beauty of computers is they don't get tired, can be used in different settings, and use the same criteria--unlike neurologists," says Imperial College London's Paul Matthews.

From Bloomberg
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