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Simple Eye Exam With Powerful Artificial Intelligence Could Lead to Early Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

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An example of a fundus eye image taken from the UK Biobank.

Machine learning networks can classify Parkinsons disease based on retinal vasculature, with the key features being smaller blood vessels.

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

A simple eye exam combined with powerful artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning technology could provide early detection of Parkinson's disease, according to research being presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects millions of people worldwide. Diagnosis is typically based on symptoms like tremors, muscle stiffness and impaired balance — an approach that has significant limitations.

"The issue with that method is that patients usually develop symptoms only after prolonged progression with significant injury to dopamine brain neurons," said study lead author Maximillian Diaz, a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. "This means that we are diagnosing patients late in the disease process."


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