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Artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied by scientists to all aspects of Parkinson’s research. From drug discovery to protein folding, the power of these supercomputers is being utilized and it is starting to bear interesting pieces of fruit.
Recently a group of scientists in Toronto (Canada) have reported a study using AI to identify clinically available drugs that may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s (or slow it onset).
Specifically, using IBM’s Watson super computer, they screened through a medical records database (the Ontario Drug Benefit), and identified several classes of drugs that reduced the risk of developing PD.
In today’s post, we will review the results of the recent report and consider the implications.
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Dexamethasone. Source: Sky
This week we received fantastic news from the coordinators of the UK RECOVERY Trial that they have identified an agent that appears to have a significant impact on improving survival for individuals affected by COVID19 infections.
The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial – launched across 175 NHS hospitals in the UK in March – is one of the world’s largest randomized, controlled trials for coronavirus treatments (Click here to read more about this details of the trial). The study currently has more than 11,000 patients enrolled and it is evaluating 6 agents for their ability to combat the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2.
This week the researchers conducting the study announced that the corticosteroid dexamethasone – a medicine that reduces inflammation by mimicking anti-inflammatory hormones produced by the body – was able to reduced the risk of dying in infected individuals (on receiving oxygen therapy but were not on ventilators) by 20%. The agent had no effect on people with less severe cases of COVID-19.
It is a remarkable achievement – involving 2,100 patients who received the drug at a low-to-moderate dose of 6 milligrams per day for 10 days and were compared against approximately 4,000 patients who received standard care for the coronavirus infection (UPDATE 22/6/2020: a manuscript of the result is now avaiable – click here to read it).
Yeah, it’s brilliant. But what does this have to do with Parkinson’s?
Well, very recently dexamethasone has been identified as potentially having an effect on another medical condition.
Care to take a wild guess as to which condition that might be?