Tencent Partners Up with Medopad to Use AI for Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

Tencent Medopad

Chinese tech giant Tencent has partnered up with London medical firm Medopad and the Parkinson’s Centre of Excellence at King’s College Hospital in London to use artificial intelligence in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

The new AI system has been designed to spot Parkinson’s disease by looking at existing video footage of patients, which were analyzed by Kings College Hospital in London.

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“Tencent provides the AI technology and capabilities for the video analysis of Parkinson’s disease motor function which will be used in Medopad’s mobile medical application. This technology can help promote early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, screening, and daily evaluations of key functions,” said Dr Wei Fan, head of Tencent Medical AI Lab.

“The goal of Tencent and Medopad’s collaboration is to help expand the remit of AI-powered movement assessment from sport and exercise to medicine and to reduce the cost of motor function assessment.”

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year. Incidence of Parkinson’s disease increases with age, but an estimated 4% of people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed before age 50.  The cost of Parkinson’s, including treatment, lost income and social security payments is estimated to be nearly $25 billion per year in the United States alone.

Tencent Medopad
Image: Creative commons

Current disease motor function assessments take more than half an hour in clinical settings and scores are ultimately assigned based on doctors’ observations, but the duo wants to standardize the test through motion video analysis technology leveraging deep learning and image recognition, reports MobiHealthNews.

Founded in 2011, Medopad develops apps and wearable devices to monitor patients with various health conditions.

“Our partnership with Tencent comes from a shared vision to change the future of healthcare as we know it. In combining Medopad’s medical expertise and Tencent’s technical capabilities, we hope to provide the technology needed to support clinicians to predict preventable complications for people with Parkinson’s disease. Working together we can achieve our vision to help more than 1 billion patients live longer and continue doing great work,” said Dan Vahdat, CEO and founder of Medopad.

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Tencent and Medopad aren’t the only firms applying Artificial Intelligence to health care. Just last week, Google subsidiary DeepMind announced that it would use mammograms from Jikei University Hospital in Tokyo, to improve its AI breast cancer detection algorithms. And last month Nvidia revealed an AI system that produces synthetic scans of brain cancer.