Problems with walking and moving are among the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s disease — a degenerative brain condition caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons. Assessing the impact of the disease on how patients walk is usually down to the watchful eye of the doctor, but now a cheap, effective and more objective computer-based approach has been developed. Patients dress simply in light-coloured clothing and are filmed walking past a dark background. The images are then computer-analysed. In a trial of the system, the computer accurately distinguished the silhouettes of healthy controls (top row), patients without treatment (middle row) and patients receiving treatment (bottom row), more than 80 per cent of the time. The new approach should increase accurate diagnosis, assessment of disease progression and evaluation of drug treatments.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.