The replication of human intelligence work by machines, particularly computer systems, is known as Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems work by consuming massive volumes of labelled data, analyzing the information for patterns and structures, and then using these patterns to forecast future conditions.

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Face recognition software is controversial in general, generating a wide range of feelings, from privacy concerns to gratitude that such software might help identify criminals or missing ones. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology can be used for various reasons in research, such as detecting Parkinson's disease progressions.

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a movement condition that impacts the nerve system. Symptoms appear slowly and may begin with a barely detectable tremor in only one hand. Tremors are normal, however, they are often accompanied by stiffness or slowed motion.

Your face may display little expression in the early stages of Parkinson's disease. When you walk, your hands may not move. Your voice may become muffled or distorted. The indications of Parkinson's disease enlarge as the disease progresses.

Although there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, medicines can help you to an extent. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend surgery to improve your symptoms by regulating certain areas of your brain.

Signs of Parkinson's disease are:

  1. Tremor: A tremor usually starts in one of your limbs, most commonly in your hand or fingers. It occurs when you rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth. When your hand is idle, it may shiver.
  2. Slow movement: Parkinson's disease slows your mobility over time, making routine tasks harder and more time-consuming. When you step out, your steps may become tiny. Stepping out of a chair can be challenging. When you try to walk, your feet may become numb.
  3. Rigid muscles: Muscle stiffness can happen anytime and in any portion of your body. Stiff muscles can be uncomfortable and reduce your range of motion.
  4. Posture: As a result of Parkinson's disease, your posture may become bent, and you may experience balance difficulties.
  5. Loss of automatic motions: You may find that you have a reduced ability to undertake unconscious movements such as yawning, smiling, or waving your arms while walking.
  6. Changes in speech: You may speak quietly, fast, or pause before speaking. Instead of the regular inflexions, your speech may be more boring.
  7. Changes in writing: It may become more difficult to write, and your writing may appear smaller.

Artificial Intelligence and Facial Emotion Recognition(FER)

Facial Emotion Recognition is an important function in human social interactions. Studies on FER in Parkinson's disease had mixed findings, which could be due to many factors. For starters, past studies did not take into account memory loss, the severity of disease, or medicine status, particularly in the case of depression. Furthermore, the sensitivity of research methodologies varied depending on how complex the task was to develop. A recent study found evidence for a particular FER deficit in negative fundamental emotions. The main logic of this bias in emotional processing, however, is still unknown.

Visual information and shifting attention to a mix of usual signs in a face conveying a specific emotion are required for FER. Although executive function and attention problems are common in Parkinson's disease, the influence of cognitive impairment on FER and the specific contributions of different cognitive domains are still unknown.

A study that found the Facial Emotion Recognition of rage was connected with the capacity to differentiate perfectly from imperfect circles supports the possibility of visuospatial abnormalities in FER of PD patients. However, even when cognitive dysfunction is controlled for, FER impairment in PD may still exist.

The goal of this study is to see how FER and the eye moves during visual scanning of facial emotions affect cognitive processes in people with Parkinson's disease.

Using AI to track facial changes in Parkinson's disease:

Unfortunately, traditional procedures make tracking and quantifying facial changes in Parkinson's patients challenging.

But what if Artificial Intelligence could have provided us with the tools we've always needed? A group of scientists from Okayama University in Japan examined whether modern facial identification and analysis could be useful in the case of PD. The team, led by Dr. Koh Tadokoro of the Department of Neurology, included 193 people, half of whom were Parkinson's disease patients at various stages of the disease and the other half were healthy.

The participants were sent to an examination room at the University's clinic, where the researchers shot a single snapshot of their face with no particular instructions.

The team used commercially available AI software to recognize people's features and evaluate some of their features, such as age, current mood, and facial skin condition after the photos were shot. They used data analysis to see if AI-based systems could detect significant variations in these characteristics between healthy people and those with Parkinson's disease.

Surprisingly, the age gap calculated by the software minus the people's actual age was a component that varied between the two groups. The age gap between PD patients and healthy people was greater on average, meaning that the former seemed slightly older than their real age to the AI. Furthermore, PD patients' facial expressions were more likely to be labelled as "expressionless" as compared to healthy people, who were way more likely to have a "happy" expression. In terms of skin health, however, the researchers discovered no significant changes between the two groups.

FER did not differ from healthy individuals in PD patients with intact cognitive function, although the scanned area of their faces was shortened. The visual scanning pattern has better predictive power in FER of mild than severe emotions. While the limited scanning area of PD patients may be sufficient for recognizing the extremely clear emotions, it may be harmful when the emotional intensity is lower. In the future, it would be fascinating to look into the visual exploration of different emotion levels in PD patients.

Was the Output Successful?

Overall, the study's method and discoveries may open the way for AI-based software to be used in future studies on Parkinson's disease symptoms. The team's strategy was straightforward and cost-effective.

The researchers also discovered several flaws in facial analysis software, such as the fact that it performs a little worse for people with darker skin tones and is less accurate when calculating the age of Asians. Secondly, the study's sample size and the number of trials per emotion are both limited, reducing the study's validity. Before the software is used in clinical research, such issues can and should be resolved.

The findings of particularly reduced anger recognition along with limited visual exploration of angered faces support the concept that PD may have a specific brain connection for impaired FER of negative emotions.


Because FER is so important in social connections, the current study's findings have deep impacts: understanding the specific deficits of FER in Parkinson's disease may help to enhance connections with care team members and healthcare workers. Moreover, a greater understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of decreased FER in Parkinson's disease may help in the creation of neurocognitive training programmes to substitute for FER impairments in PD.

In short, Artificial Intelligence-based technologies may have significant possibilities for quick, data analysis of patients with Parkinson's disease.

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