by Emma Morgan
University of Iowa researchers are helping develop a new method to examine cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease patients from just five minutes of data collection.
This new methodology requires very little clinical expertise, creating potential for great impact on rural healthcare where such expertise is scarce.
The research is the outgrowth of the PhD dissertation of Md Fahim Anjum, an Iowa electrical and computer engineering (ECE) alumnus. Anjum's dissertation was co-supervised by Soura Dasgupta, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor and ECE professor, and Nandakumar S. Narayanan, Juanita J. Bartlett Professor in Neurology Research and assistant professor of neurology. Anjum is now a post doctoral scholar at the University of California San Francisco.
Nature Portfolio’s prestigious Nature Partner Journals (npj) series recently published the findings. The research paper, “Resting State Electroencephalography (EEG) Measures Cognitive Impairments in Parkinson’s Disease,” can be found here.
Launched in 2014, the npj series provides open-access, peer-reviewed research to the global scientific community. The paper will appear in npj Parkinson's Disease, one of the highest ranked publications covering movement disorders and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Parkinson’s is an incurable, devastating disease that afflicts a substantial portion of the elderly population. Roughly 20% of individuals with PD exhibit cognitive dysfunction at initial diagnosis, leading to dementia in more than 80% of individuals as the disease progresses. Because PD-related cognitive symptoms can predict morbidity and mortality, early diagnosis may help counsel families and guide critical treatment decisions.
Currently, diagnosis requires several hours with trained examiners and is subject to learning effects, especially with frequent testing. In contrast, this paper develops a new machine learning based index, obtained from just five minutes of EEG data, which measures electrical activity in the brain. This means the progression of cognitive disorders can be monitored in real time.
The paper's authors include Anjum, Dasgupta, Narayanan, Arturo I. Espinoza, Rachel C. Cole, Arun Singh, Patrick May, Ergun Y. Uc. May is an ECE research assistant.