In an online press event today, Intel announced a new joint project with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The goal is to apply Big Data tools and techniques to gather and analyze information from wearable devices in order to learn more about Parkinson’s Disease. Ideally, this can help lead to more effective diagnosis and treatments, and eventually to a cure.
One major problem with Parkinson’s is that there is no definitive test for the disease. Doctors still rely on a series of subjective measures to identify and monitor symptoms. Tracking data around the clock from hundreds or thousands of patients could reveal patterns and connections that are not readily apparent at this point. This should result in more thorough and complete data than that typically acquired through patient log books and the occasional office visit with a doctor. Eventually, the program is intended to merge the wearable device data with other information including genomic analysis, treatment data, and even patient histories.
Intel is providing a hardware platform to handle the data in the cloud for researchers. The plan is to collect as much as a gigabyte of data from each patient per day. Analysts who are expert in Big Data will then work with medical researchers to search for useful information in the collection of data.
The program is going to start with trials in New York City in the U.S. and Tel Aviv, Israel. Patients interested in volunteering for future trials can register at the Fox Trial Finder.