During the last week of September, the Van Andel institute and the Cure Parkinson’s Trust held their annual Parkinson’s research meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The meetings – the Linked Clinical Trials meeting, Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s, and Rallying to the Challenge – provided an opportunity for members of the Parkinson’s community (both researchers and advocates) to come together, share research/knowledge/experience, and discuss what needs to be done.
I attended the meetings this year for the first time.
In today’s post, I thought I would provide some feedback and share some of my thoughts on the meetings.
Jay Van Andel (left) and Rich DeVos. Source: Amwayconnections
The history of Amway is an interesting story.
One of ambition, determination, and a refusal to give up.
It begins with the two founders – Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos – trying and failing to get seven different businesses off the ground before they eventually founded the multi-level marketing company that we know of as Amway.
One aspect of the story that many people do not know, however, is that for a decade before he passed away in 2004, Jay Van Andel lived with Parkinson’s.
Inspiration comes from many different places.
For one young innovator it came from a character in a popular animated movie – an automated robot that could monitor and immediately diagnose medical conditions. This curious source of inspiration has now led to an award-winning piece of research involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a mobile app that can differentiate between people with and without Parkinson’s.
In today’s post, we will discuss this interesting unpublished research from an inspiring individual, who is trying to help us better diagnose and monitor Parkinson’s.
Have you ever watched the movie ‘Big Hero 6‘?
It is the story of a boy named Hiro who goes on an adventure with a robot called Baymax.
Baymax is a personal healthcare companion that is designed to diagnose and treat medical conditions instantly.
After watching the movie Big Hero 6, Shreya Ramesh became fascinated with the idea of the character Baymax. She began wondering how a machine could be made to be smart enough to analyse the medical conditions, make a diagnosis, and then offer remedies.
So she began reading a great deal about machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. Then she collected a large data set of information from people with and without Parkinson’s for analysis.
Sounds interesting. Then what did she do?
Next, she designed, developed, and tested a smartphone application (using Python scripts) that could potentially one day help with early diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
And Shreya presented her research at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and she is now seeking to write up and publish her results in a scientific journal.
Wow. That’s really impressive!
Yeah. And she did all of this while still going to all her classes in high school.
Oh, did I forget to mention that she’s just a high school student?