Spiral drawing test could detect early signs of Parkinson’s

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Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 4 October 2017

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Researchers from RMIT University, Australia, have developed a test that may be able to detect early Parkinson’s – before physical symptoms appear.

During the test, participants draw a spiral using a tablet device, and computer software then measures their drawing speed and pen pressure to diagnose the condition.

PhD researcher Poonam Zham led the study, published in ‘Frontiers of Neurology’, with the RMIT biomedical engineering research team.

Working with Dandenong Neurology, the study involved 62 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Half had no visible symptoms and half ranged from mildly- to severely-affected.

Professor Dinesh Kumar, chief investigator, said: “The customised software we’ve developed records how a person draws a spiral and analyses the data in real time.

“With this tool we can tell whether someone has Parkinson’s disease and calculate the severity of their condition, with a 93% accuracy rate.”

Image credit: RMIT University – Professor Dinesh Kumar and Poonam Zham

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