​Tencent training AI to spot Parkinson's within three minutes

Tencent is teaming up with London-based healthcare firm Medopad to create Parkinson-detecting smartphone apps


Chinese tech giant Tencent has teamed up with Medopad, a healthcare wearables and app developer, to create an AI capable of detecting Parkinson's symptoms in patients in just a few minutes.

The AI system has been trained using videos provided by the Kings College Hospital located in London. By showing the AI a video of a patient's hand tremors, the goal is to bring down the time needed to assess motor skill deterioration from the 30 minutes it currently is, to just three.

"We use the AI to measure the deterioration of Parkinson's disease patients without the patient wearing any sensors or devices," explained Dr Wei Fan, head of Tencent Labs.

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With Tencent's partnership with Medopad, the hope is to have mobile apps developed by Medopad capable of doing this remotely, thereby eliminating the need to go to a hospital for many.

Speaking to the BBC following the announcement, Dan Vahdat, chief executive at Medopad explained that no British company could possibly compare to Tencent as a business partner. "Our ambition is to impact a billion patients around the world - and to be able to get to that kind of scale we need to work with partners that have international reach," he added.

"We are looking forward to clinical trials in both China, the US and other countries," said Dr Wei Fan. "We will strictly follow local regulations and when we have the results they will benefit not just one country but globally."

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