ConnectedLife partners with Ocean Protocol to advance diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease

ConnectedLife will use motion and biomedical data from Parkinson’s disease patients with Ocean Protocol’s blockchain tech to help healthcare professionals prescribe personalised treatments.
By Dean Koh

Trent McConaghy​, co-founder of Ocean Protocol. Source: Ocean Protocol

Singapore-headquartered health AI company ConnectedLife today announced its partnership with Singapore-based non-profit foundation Ocean Protocol to advance the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease with a safe method of sharing patient-generated data.

By combining IoT and deep-learning tech, ConnectedLife continuously collects motion data to objectively monitor motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease patients. Through clinical trials with the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore and other research partners in Germany and Turkey, the company gathers tens of thousands of minutes of free-living motion data from Parkinson's disease patients.

The raw data is then processed continuously over time to develop a predictive model to objectively detect Parkinson's disease motor symptoms. Ocean Protocol provides the technology for the patient-generated data to be shared in a privacy-preserving and secure manner via blockchain tech.

ConnectedLife's high-resolution motion and biomedical data provides objective symptom measures and is shared via Ocean Protocol with healthcare professionals to help prescribe personalised treatments, so patients can be maintained in the optimal therapeutic range to prevent unwanted side effects and symptom fluctuations, significantly improving their quality of life. In addition, machine learning is used to facilitate the development of technology for early diagnosis.

Why it matters

More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's disease, and there is no known cure for the disease. Current therapies are limited to addressing symptoms, most notably the loss of spontaneous movement. After 50 years of use, the dopamine precursor levodopa is still considered the best form of treatment. However, the long-term treatment frequently leads to symptom fluctuations, which are inadequately addressed by impersonalised and rigid timing schedules for drug administration.

What’s the trend

Parkinson's disease has been the focus of a number of digital health projects. Last month, BGN Technologies unveiled an AI platform for monitoring and predicting the progression of neurodegenerative diseases for the purpose of identifying markers for personalised patient care and improved drug development. While the initial focus will be on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the tech will later be adapted to various other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Last November, Belgian biopharma company UCB launched an app called PD Coach and it includes an AI assistant named April that can communicate with users either by text or speech. April is programmed with a wealth of Parkinson's-specific information and is designed to be able to communicate with Parkinson's patients through speech and dexterity challenges.

Apple has been particularly interested in the disease, and it was the focus of Sage Bionetwork's mPower app, one of the first studies to be conducted on ResearchKit.

On the record

"We are enthusiastic about solving significant challenges in healthcare using AI. But, health data is locked up and not being shared due to concerns around control, privacy and security. Removing these roadblocks can help billions of chronic disease patients through AI-enabled prevention, early diagnosis, personalised treatment that ultimately improve patient outcomes and quality of life," said Dr. Franz MJ Pfister, Chief Medical Officer, ConnectedLife, in a statement.

Trent McConaghy (see featured image), co-founder of Ocean Protocol, said, "Ocean will ultimately allow algorithms and models to travel to the data, get trained and then leave without exposing the data. This helps to unlock way more data without compromising privacy."

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