Parkinson’s disease (PD) can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or race, and has no cure. Currently, 1.2 million people in Europe and 6.3 million worldwide are diagnosed with PD, figures are expected to double by 2030. Like in the case of Alzheimer’s, diagnosis is one of the biggest challenges of PD. Existing lab tests cannot identify the disease and standard brain scans of people with PD usually appear normal. Current diagnostic criteria for PD rely on the clear presence of motor signs (tremor at rest, rigidity, slowness of movement, etc.) which are present when severe brain damage has already occurred. To treat before damage is irreversible, both diseases must be detected at early stages.
In recent years, advances in MRI, transcranial sonography (TCS), and functional imaging have provided new tools for the diagnosis of PD in its early stages and have discriminated it from other atypical Parkinsonian syndromes. Basic MRI shows a normal substantia nigra structure in idiopathic PD and so it is not diagnostically helpful. It is also difficult to apply Volumetric T1‐weighted MRI to detect a reduction in the nigral volume in PD because of its poor accuracy in identifying the border of the nigra compacta. Diffusion MRI has shown great potential utility to support the research on PD by detecting altered structure (known as anisotropy measure) in the neural tracts.
In Mint Labs platform, we integrate the quantification power of MRI together with accurate recording of hand movements (up to 0.01 mm) and reaction time (with Gametection) to reveal cognitive processing and its deterioration over time. This is being developed on our platform in collaboration with our clinical partners for Parkinson’s disease.