DiagnaMed Holdings to Commercialize Virtual Reality Technology That Diagnoses Neurological Disorders

VR glasses bring an immersive experience to the elderly man
Credit: mikkelwilliam/Getty Images

digital diagnostic company DiagnaMed holdings today announced that it has acquired the exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Kansas Technology Transfer Corporation for the development and commercialization of a novel virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) neurodiagnostic system for the assessment, diagnosis and follow-up of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

The system, called Neuro VR/AI, has been in development for the past few years by the University of Kansas Medical Center, Osaka University, and Augusta University and is designed for use in the clinical setting with telehealth applications. The technology takes advantage of virtual reality glasses with an infrared camera built into the lens and emulates a real-world environment and common daily tasks to help measure a patient’s ability to fixate on a point, smoothly search for an object, or perform saccadic movements (rapid eye movements). between two points). By measuring eye movements in relation to these tasks, VR/AI Neuro technology is designed to elicit eye movements commonly associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as abnormal saccades, square wave jerks, and eye twitching.

The research team tested the tool with nine patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and seven healthy controls to see how it compared with current clinical diagnostic methods. The researchers then applied eye tracking and image enhancement algorithms to the eye recordings collected during the evaluation and conducted a brief follow-up study with two physicians for evaluation. The results showed that the VR/AI Neuro system interface could elicit five common types of movements usable for assessment, clinicians could confirm three out of four abnormalities, and the visualizations were rated as potentially useful for diagnosis.

Early and accurate diagnosis remains a challenge for neurodegenerative diseases. Evaluations can be time consuming, patients often must travel long distances for specialist office visits in metropolitan areas or different cities, and misdiagnosis can result in inappropriate treatment. The hope is that emerging technologies leveraging AI that can track and emulate a patient’s daily tasks could be a new and more accurate tool for diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases.

“We are excited to advance the development of a novel artificial intelligence and virtual reality neurodiagnostic system that will aim to change the way neurodegenerative diseases are diagnosed and managed,” said Fabio Chianelli, Chairman of the Board of DiagnaMed. “We are focused on developing and commercializing next-generation digital diagnostic tools for brain health in neurological and mental health disorders. The VR/AI Neuro system complements our product development programs.”

Other products in DiagnaMed’s brain health portfolio include BrainAGE and BrainTremor, for applications in mental health and neurological disorders.

BrainAGE is an EEG-based machine learning technique for assessing whether a person’s brain is aging faster or slower than is normal for healthy people. Some people’s brains function as if they were older than their chronological age; other people’s brains function as if they were younger. BrainAGE provides a measure of overall brain health by detecting the combined effects of physiological, pathological, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that affect the rate at which the brain ages.

brain tremor combines smartwatch technology and EEG measurements to detect tremors and measure cognitive and brain activity for Parkinson’s disease. It leverages an AI algorithm to help diagnose and monitor diseases, areas of growing interest to researchers and clinicians.

DiagnaMed says its goal is to complete development of a prototype of the BrainAge and BrainTremor for clinical research, with an eye toward commercialization in 2023.

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