When parking in reverse, your car skids off just a little, hitting the wall of the parking garage. On the car dashboard, a warning light immediately starts blinking. This technique from new cars can also be used for another purpose, namely in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease patients.
Deep brain stimulation
Parkinson’s disease causes two main problems: first, people have difficulty moving and at a later stage the disease also affects memory and speech. By means of a brain surgery called deep brain stimulation, the first problem can be partially treated. However, there is a disadvantage: if patients have already reached the later stage, the operation also affects the cognitive part. It is therefore important to know in advance whether the operation will have adverse effects on the patient. But how can you make this selection?
Algoritm in cars
Victor Geraedts, LUMC physician-researcher, discovered that an algorithm in your car, developed by LIACS, can help. Research by Thomas Bäck has led to an algorithm that measures vibrations in the event of a car accident. This technique can also be used in EEG scans. Such scans measure the communication of nerve cells in the brain and convert this into waves. Because the algorithm also works with waves, it can analyze EEG scans. In this way it can recognize waves that move less quickly, a sign that Parkinson’s disease patients are in a later stage of the disease. In addition, the algorithm can recognize patterns in the reaction between nerve cells that humans are unable to identify. In this way, artificial intelligence will soon be able to help with the selection of Parkinson’s disease patients that can be operated on.