Our Spanish ambassador Prof. Fermín Mallor, University Professor in the Department of Statistics and Operational Research of the Public University of Navarra, answered questions about his involvement in i-Prognosis.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and where your interest in Parkinson’s research comes from?
My name is Fermín Mallor, I am Professor in Statistics and Operations Research at the Public University of Navarra. I coordinate a large multidisciplinary research group (www.unavarra.es/quphs) whose purpose is to improve health services through data analytics and simulation and optimization models. The i-Prognosis project, led by Professor Leontios J. Hadjileontiadis, will contribute to the improvement of the health of Parkinson’s patients by making smart use of new technologies and analytical methodologies. Specifically, we were struck by the approach to prospective large-scale data collection through a mobile application, with voluntary participation of citizens, as well as the application of data analytics to have a real positive impact on people’s health. In addition, from a more personal point of view, I have a family history with Parkinson’s disease and I know how important it can be to detect and treat it early.
Why did you decide to support the research of i-Prognosis?
Because it is research that has a positive impact on people’s health through the use of quantitative methodologies with a highly innovative character. The excellent predisposition and enthusiasm that Leontios and Sofia showed to publicize their project also played a role.
How have you supported the research of i-PROGNOSIS so far and how do you currently support it?
We organized a conference on Big Data in Health at the Public University of Navarra where Leontios and his collaborator Sofía Balula presented the project to an interested public formed by researchers in data analytics, doctors related to Parkinson’s as well as managers of the public health system . The conference elicited great excitement among attendees and the local press which reported on the conference and interviewed Leontios.
How could other areas of research benefit from the “heritage” of i-Prognosis?
Undoubtedly, the project is collecting a huge amount of data that can be useful for the study of other diseases or healthy habits of people. In this regard I cannot be more specific since I am not a medical doctor, however, I do value the wealth of the database that the project is creating. In this sense, in an era where the abuse of personal data by certain companies, poorly acquired through mobile devices, makes headlines, it is necessary to make citizens aware of the importance that data has for the progress of scientific research in health. Without a doubt, the i-Prognosis project contributes to this awareness and demonstrates that personal data protection and research activity can go hand in hand.