An EU project is getting close to building combined brain and neuromuscular computer models to predict the progression of Parkinson’s and ensure the prescription of the correct medication.
Understanding how Parkinson’s disease progresses is vital to predicting what treatment is needed, but so far tracking its course centers on models of the brain and neuromuscular systems as separate entities. One EU-funded project, Notremor, is bringing these two research strands together by developing combined computational models of the brain and neuromuscular systems.
The project is working on models linking midbrain degenerations to motor behavior that can be used to estimate an individual’s internal midbrain states by observing motor abilities. This allows scientists to monitor the disease’s progression precisely, and track the effect of medication. Medication can then be matched with improved accuracy to the stage of the disease.
Notremor is also building a special visual analytics tool that can be used by healthcare professionals to support patient monitoring and the testing of treatments.
One of the biggest challenges in treating Parkinson’s is the individual and unpredictable nature of the condition. And Notremor technology is specifically designed to tackle this. The project’s technology works by gathering two types of patient data. The first studies eye movements and the second involves the patient tracking a moving target on a tablet computer with a finger. The model’s behavior can then be fitted to the patient’s data, boosting its predictive powers.
Another advantage of the Notremor system is that its technology can be used at home with a low running cost. This is particularly true of the finger tracking task.
The project is still working on evaluating the accuracy and testing the sensitivity of its models.