How has the whole idea of the i-PROGNOSIS project started? Why have you decided to propose a project linked to Parkinson’s Disease?
Dealing with the field of biomedical engineering for many years, I have realized the need for alternative approaches in the field, that are built on scientific methodologies yet involve people’s everyday interaction. The European Commission’s call “H2020-PHC-21-2015: Advancing active and healthy ageing with ICT: Early risk detection and intervention” opened the field for applying such combination in practice. Hence, taking into account that Parkinon’s Disease (PD) symptoms can be so subtle in the early stages that they go unnoticed, as there are no PD-related biomarkers (e.g. blood tests) and findings on routine magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans are unremarkable, leaving the disease undiagnosed for years, I came up with the idea of i-PROGNOSIS, that acquires behavioural data from the interaction with smart devices, such as a smartphone and/or a smartwatch, and tries to form new PD prognostic indices that would lead to early innovative interventions for the diagnosed PD patients.
Could you tell us about the key role played by the young researcher in your team in relation to that project?
During the evaluation of the proposal, I have formed a 4-student team to deal with the problem tackled by the i-PROGNOSIS, yet focusing at some main characteristics. The latter included voice analysis, as a means to discriminate between controls and PD patients, along with gait-freezing and sleep enhancement interventions. This initiative have resulted in very promising initial results, that paved the way for deeping further into the realisation of the i-PROGNOSIS concept. In this context, the 4-student team has been awarded in worldwide competitions (such as Imagine Cup from Microsoft) and fueled the eager for transferring the initial vision to reality via the approval of the i-PROGNOSIS project.
If you could list 5 words/adjectives to define i-PROGNOSIS, what would they be?
Community, Prognosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Interventions, Engagement
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