A team of Australian researchers found a way to diagnose Parkinson’s just with a paper and pencil. They developed an advanced software which analyzes a person’s drawing of a spiral and can identify the presence of the disease before any symptoms become visible.
Parkinson’s is usually diagnosed too late
Parkinson’s disease has quite a slow onset. Therefore, most of the time when people receive a diagnose, the disease has already advanced to a serious stage. However, researchers were able to design a tool which analyzes the way a person draws a spiral, and can identify the first signs of the disease. They claim their software can reach an accuracy of 93 percent, and they hope it might be accepted as a standard testing method for an early detection of Parkinson’s.
This is extremely important for a patient suffering from the disease. The earlier the treatment starts, the more chances there are for it to return better results. Also, as soon as the patient starts trembling and experiencing all the other symptoms, his brain cells have already been affected.
A spiral drawing can show early symptoms of Parkinson’s before they’re even visible
Researchers have known that Parkinson’s affects sketching or writing. However, they haven’t been able to use this for an effective screening method until now. They performed a trial on this screening tool and summed up the results in a paper published in the journal Frontiers of Neurology.
The trial involved 62 people who had received a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Half of them showed no symptoms, while the others were more or less affected by them. After testing several scribbling tasks, they decided the most effective one was the drawing of a spiral. Also, this was the easiest task the patients could perform.
Depending on how they drew this spiral, researchers could find out if they suffered from the disease or not. Then, they could also estimate how affected they were, and all results had an accuracy of 93 percent. More research is still needed, but scientists hope they will soon be able to apply this testing method everywhere.
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