New York. A simple eye examination combined with powerful artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning technology could provide early detection of Parkinson's disease, say researchers.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects millions of people worldwide.
Diagnosis is typically based on symptoms like tremors, muscle stiffness and impaired balance -- an approach that has significant limitations.
"The issue with that method is that patients usually develop symptoms only after prolonged progression with significant injury to dopamine brain neurons," said study lead author Maximillian Diaz from the University of Florida in the US.
"This means that we are diagnosing patients late in the disease process," Diaz added.
In the new study, the research team deployed a type of AI called support vector machine (SVM) learning that has been around since 1989.
Using pictures of the back of the eye from both patients with Parkinson's disease and control participants, they trained the SVM to detect signs on the images suggestive of disease.
The results indicated that the machine learning networks can classify Parkinson's disease based on retina vasculature, with the key features being smaller blood vessels.
The proposed methods further support the idea that changes in brain physiology can be observed in the eye.
"The single most important finding of this study was that a brain disease was diagnosed with a basic picture of the eye," Diaz said.
"This is very different from traditional approaches where to find a problem with the brain you look at different brain images," Diaz added.
The research team noted that those traditional imaging approaches with MRI, CT and nuclear medicine techniques can be very costly.
In contrast, the new approach uses basic photography with equipment commonly available in eye clinics to get an image.
The images can even be captured by a smartphone with a special lens.
"The approach may also have applications in identifying other diseases that affect the structure of the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis," Diaz noted. (IANS)
London, Nov 2 (IANS) The UK's Prince William had contracted the novel coronavirus in April, just days after his father Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were also diagnosed with the disease, but chose to keep it a secret in an effort to avoid alarming the country, a media report said.According to the Sun newspaper report published on Sunday, the 38-year-old Duke of Cambridge had told an observer at an engagement that "there were important things going on and I didn't want to worry anyone".The Duke was treated by palace doctors, and followed government guidelines by isolating at the family home Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, the report said."William was hit pretty hard by the virus - it really knocked him for six," a source told the Sun newspaper."At one stage he was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked."After seeing medics and testing positive - which was obviously quite a shock given how fit and healthy he is - William was determined it should be business as usual though."He was determined to fulfil his engagements," the source added.The source further said that after the news Prince Charles and Johnson's diagnoses broke, William was concerned that informing the country about his own plight would send everyone into panic mode. "The Queen delivered her 'We Will Meet Again' address, and he just didn't want to worry people. He felt there were more important things going on in the country."But as a result of his own experiences, he realises absolutely anyone can catch this awful disease - and knows how imperative it is that we all take this second lockdown seriously," the source told the Sun newspaper.Prince Charles isolated for two weeks in March with mild symptoms, while Johnson spent three nights in ICU after being hospitalised on April 5. The Kensington Palace was yet to officially comment on the development.--IANSksk/
Seeking timely diagnosis and treatment of psoriasis, while recognizing the symptoms, is advisable, says a renowned dermatologist ahead of the World Psoriasis Day marked on October 29.
According to many dermatologists, people living with moderate to severe psoriasis require access to high-quality treatment and regular screening of their condition. The flare-ups on the scalp, genital, and palmoplantar (that affect palms and soles) may go underdiagnosed by a general physician. Hence, it is important to only consult a dermatologist for correct treatment before the symptoms grow to an even more severe stage.
Contrary to the most prevalent perception of being as a mere 'skin disease', psoriasis is rather a chronic and an autoimmune condition which causes itchy, flaky, red patches with silvery scales on the skin and is often mistaken for being contagious.
It may resemble an ordinary rash. However, psoriasis occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells. This causes an increase in new skin cells resulting in dry patches as skin cells build up on the skin's surface.
Dr. Brijes Nair, Consultant Dermatologist, Military Hospital, Jaipur said, "Out of various dermatological conditions, I diagnose around 20 new psoriasis patients every month. After the diagnosis of patients' current stage, they are advised with a treatment option that varies as per their disease activity. Topical treatment can be prescribed for mild psoriasis without arthritis. Whereas, effective therapies like DMARDs and biologicals can be prescribed for patients suffering from mild, moderate to severe psoriasis on sensitive areas like palms, face, genitals, etc. which have the potential to affect their quality of life adversely. Immediate attention from a rheumatologist is required in case the treating dermatologists detect joint pain, inflammation in tendons and fingers, axial pain, etc."
Although psoriasis has no absolute cure, advanced treatment options like biologics have proven to be a revolutionizing therapy for many people living with this condition. Also, this may also decrease the risk of developing co-morbid conditions. Dermatologists have observed that once patients start getting positive results, they tend to discontinue their ongoing treatment. However, it is significant to note that discontinuation of the treatment can increase the chances of developing critical co-morbidities including psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, uveitis, etc. Approximately one in four people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis.
After the Covid-19 outbreak, it was presumed that people with an auto-immune condition like psoriasis would be more prone to contracting Covid-19. This raised several questions about treatment implications and limited access to the dermatologist even forced a few patients to halt their ongoing treatment. However, a recent research has found that discontinuation of the treatment can worsen a patient's existing condition and makes it difficult to manage the symptoms as they reach an advanced stage of severity.
"During the ongoing pandemic, we encourage people with psoriasis to stay in regular contact with their dermatologist and not discontinue their treatment regimen without the intervention of their treating dermatologist. As per the current recommendations, non-infected patients can continue their ongoing treatment and only Covid positive patients need to halt any systematic and biological medications as per dermatologist's advice," added Dr. Nair.
Although virtual channels can be utilized to address routine problems, people should not dismiss the need to visit the clinics when required after following proper precautions like hand hygiene, social distancing norms, etc.
If not managed properly in a timely manner, psoriasis may have a severe physical and emotional impact on the patient's overall health. Yet, the lack of awareness about this condition often leads to a long-term delay in diagnosis and treatment. While living with many misconceptions may negatively impact a patient's quality of life, however, being rightly educated about psoriasis management plays a huge role in the recovery process. Sometimes patients fall prey to false information and even rely on only home remedies, mostly suggested by friends and family, in the hope of getting quick relief from the psoriasis symptoms. This largely contributes to the prolonged diagnosis, and may also increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.
For people with psoriasis, seeking support and treatment is essential to a healthier lifestyle both physically and mentally. Therefore, an increased awareness will help psoriasis patients to recognize their symptoms subsequently resulting in timely diagnosis and treatment. Small but effective steps can facilitate the creation of an empathetic and supportive ecosystem for people living with psoriasis.
<br>If that version is correct, it means Trump was Covid positive on Wednesday morning (September 30). Here's the thing: Americans were informed of Trump's illness only after midnight on Thursday (October 1). At 12:54 a.m. on October 2, Trump tweeted that he and the First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive.This is swiftly becoming the 'who knew what and when did they know it?' story in parallel with being the political bombshell that it already is.All of Trump's engagements between the hours of Wednesday morning and Friday night are now under intense scrutiny because of the timeline mismatch between Trump and Conley's versions.Shortly before noon on Saturday, Conley delivered a sunny, upbeat report on Trump's health, saying he's "doing very well", "not on supplemental oxygen right now" and has been "fever free" for the last 24 hours.Minutes after that briefing, a person familiar with Trump's medical condition informed a White House pool reporter that Trump needed supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before he was hospitalised.A White House chopper transported Trump to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday evening.Trump's doctors did not confirm if the President had been on oxygen following his Covid-19 diagnosis. They only said that Trump was not on oxygen "at this moment" in the hospital.Conley reported that the hospital plans to complete a five-day treatment course for remdesivir. Trump has already got the first dose.The "big plan for today" is for Trump to "eat, drink and stay hydrated".Conley said that Trump was brought into the Walter Reed hospital "as a precautionary measure" so that he could get "state-of-the-art monitoring"."At this time, the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the President has made since Thursday. He had mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving," Conley said.Trump's cardiac function, kidney function and liver function are all "normal", his medical team at the Walter Reed said."And the President this morning is not on oxygen, not having difficulty breathing or walking around the White House medical unit upstairs," it said.Conley said Trump's blood oxygen level is 96 per cent, which is in the normal range.Trump has been treated with two experimental drugs, given intravenously. On Friday, Trump received a single dose of a drug made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, which helps turbocharge the system with antibodies to help the immune system fight back.On Friday night, Trump was put on a five-day course of remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug that has been found to help shorten the course of Covid treatment."We're maximising all the aspects of his care, attacking the virus in multiple ways. I didn't want to hold anything back, if there was any possibility it would add value to his care," Conley said. Meanwhile, Trump's Twitter thumb is back in the zone. Shortly after Conley's briefing, Trump tweeted: "Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!"As on date, three Republican Senators -- Ron Johnson, Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina -- have tested positive for coronavirus.--IANS<br>nikhila/arm
<br>Earlier on Friday, his doctor Sean Conley said that Trump was being treated with an experimental medications produced by the biotech company, Regeneron, that has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for Covid-19.In a video recorded of him standing up and speaking informally at the White House, Trump said: "I'm going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out the first lady is doing very well.""Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed (hospital) for the next few days," his Spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said on Friday evening.Trump's wife, Melania, who also tested positive for the coronavirus is staying on at the White House.Trump, who is a 74-year-old man and overweight at 124 kg, has three high-risk factors for the coronavirus, with which he was diagnosed on Thursday.McEnany said that "President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day."Trump appeared fit enough to walk unaided to the helicopter that took him to the Walter Reed medical centre where presidents usually are treated and has facilities for them to continue working.Trump's campaign plans have been cancelled for the coming days, Campaign Senior Adviser Corey Lewandowski told CBS News.Till recently, Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden had been conducting a low-key campaign prompting Trump to ridicule him as "Basement Biden" because he was usingAvdeo facilites set up in the basement to get his message out.But now, Trump will have to campaign from a hospital while Biden is out running carefully arranged public events with coronavirus precautions.At a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Biden said he and his wife Jill were offering prayers for Trump and the First Lady.Then he said, "This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously."While Trump has been dismissive of the Covid-19 precautions like wearing masks and even ridiculed Biden for his big masks, the Democrat has been an advocate of following medical guidance.Exhorting Trump supporters to also wear masks, he said that according to experts wearing masks for 100 days could save 100,000 lives.Biden, who had shared a stage during Tuesday's debate with Trump, said that he had taken two Covid-19 tests that came negative before embarking on Friday's campaign.The Hill quoted two anonymous sources in the Biden campaign as saying that they will not be running negative ads against Trump for now.A Biden ally was quoted by The Hill, a political and legislative media, as saying, "The VP (Vice President Biden) can't say 'God Bless this family' and then trash him in ads."Conley said in a memo released by the White House that as "a precautionary measure he received a single eight gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail""He completed the infusion without incident," Conley said about using the experimental medication.Regeneron had reported on Tuesday that its medication had shown positive results in 275 patients during trials.Trump has been advocating the use of medicines not fully approved by the FDA for treating Covid-19.He also received other medicines including aspirin, zinc, a natural hormone melatonin, vitamin D and the antacid famotidine, the doctor said.It did not appear that he received hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which he had taken as a preventive around the time his valet became infected with the coronavirus in May and got India to send a huge consignment for use as a cure or prophylactic.A senator who said he spoke to Trump indicated that he was "very engaged" in political affairs.Senate Judicial Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham tweeted, "The president was in good spirits this morning when I spoke with him and very engaged in the upcoming hearing regarding Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Barrett."That was one of the key issue facing Trump, who has to get the conservative judge to confirmed by the Senate to serve on the supreme court.The other is the Covid-19 relief package for businesses, individuals, public institutions and state and local governments on which the Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided.Pelosi has said that in the changed scenario a compromise seemed within reach. She asked airlines to hold off on threatened furloughs because a deal to help them was likely.The Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, which faces opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.The markets generally shrugged off Trump's ailment. After having been down by 450 points, the Dow Jones Index closed down only 134 points or 0.5 per cent. S&P was down 1 per cent and the NASDAQ 2.2 per cent, not unusual market volatility.Trump tweeted early Friday morning that he and his wife had tested positive for coronavirus.On Thursday, his Counselor Hope Hicks who had travelled with him on Tuesday and Friday on Air Force One had tested positive for the disease.Members of Trump's family who had undergone tests were found to be uninfected, as also senior officials including Vice President Mike Pence, who is next in line the line of succession.While Democratic Party's top leaders, who had borne the brunt of Trump's ridicule and personal attacks, took the high road with an outpouring of the sympathy, according to a poll taken on Friday by Morning Consult 40 per cent of Democrats were "happy" about Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, while 55 per cent of Republicans were "sad."The Walter Reed hospital, which has among the best equipment and experts is usually the first stop for military personnel wounded in wars abroad.(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)--IANS<br>al/pgh<br>
<br>The White House had politicised coronavirus and now it has come back to bite at a crucial time for the US President's political calculations."This is deadly stuff," Trump had told Washington Post's Bob Woodward, referring to the coronavirus, during a phone call on February 7, 2020. In his new bestseller "Rage", Woodward begins with the details from that stunning conversation where Trump said "it goes through air" while he publicly urged states to "REOPEN!"The coronavirus has killed more than 209,000 people in the US -- the world's richest country with the world's highest caseload.Trump's positive test comes within hours of his close confidante Hope Hicks testing positive. The news of Hicks' diagnosis did not come from a White House statement, rather it was revealed by a media report.The mad scramble for backwards contact tracing has begun at the White House, with infectious diseases experts saying that it's not necessarily a one-way street. It's possible that both Hicks and Trump had exposure to another third party.In the week before of his diagnosis became official, Trump attended at least six events with plenty of people around, exposing at least 21 officials in his immediate circle, including his new Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and Vice President Mike Pence.On Monday, September 28, Trump held two events at the Rose Garden. The first one took place on the South Lawn in the presence of a small group of about five people where he inspected a truck produced by an Ohio manufacturer Lordstown Motors.Later on the same day, Trump spoke at the Rose Garden, announcing updates on "millions" of coronavirus test kits being shipped to the states. Vice President Mike Pence was there, so were plenty of Congress lawmakers.On Tuesday, September 29, Trump flew to Cleveland, Ohio, for the first presidential debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden. Hope Hicks, whose positive coronavirus test set off alarm bells later the same week, was on Air Force One. Members of Biden's entourage were masked up while the Trump team were maskless, their signature anthem from the time of the initial outbreak of the disease. Biden and Trump stood more than six feet apart during the debate. Both men did not wear masks.On Wednesday, September 30, there were two events. Trump travelled to Minnesota for a private fundraiser in Minneapolis and an outdoor rally in Duluth. This is the day when confidante Hicks reported feeling unwell and isolated herself aboard Air Force One, a very tight, enclosed space.By late Thursday, October 1, Hicks tested positive for coronavirus. Trump flew to his Bedminster golf course-cum-resort in New Jersey for a private fundraiser, even as fears spiralled in the Trump inner circle. Trump's Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who was in close proximity to Hicks and Trump, continued to brief the media at the White House.At 12:54 am local time on Friday, October 2, Trump tweeted: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"First Lady Melania Trump tweeted shortly after: "As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for Covid-19. We are feeling good and I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe and we will all get through this together."--IANS<br>nikhila/arm
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