Since various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheim syndrome or Parkinson's disease are most often difficult to detect at an early stage of development, many scientists continue to work actively on new ways and diagnostic systems that could be really useful in this context. Today, a talented team of bionics specialists from the University of Melbourne presented their new device of a very unique and interesting nature, aimed at diagnosing the early stage of Parkinson's syndrome – although the device itself does not represent anything enormously new and unusual from the point of view of science.
It looks like a mechanical flexor and acts exactly as the mechanism of bending objects or materials – only in this case the device – called BiRD – is attached to the arm of the potential patient and begins to bend his middle finger using a special sensor grip. Bending occurs at some intervals of thirty seconds, between which the sensory part of the device actively registers various patterns of flexion of the finger, including particular attention to the degree of bending stiffness.
In the event that it took more effort than was necessary initially for mechanical flexion of the finger, this may indicate a more rigid muscle structure inside the finger – which in itself, together with other indicative markers, could mean the oncoming Parkinson crisis. Preliminary laboratory tests of this device showed a fairly high indicator of the accuracy of the flexor operation – up to 95%.
Thus, using their development, specialists from Melbourne were in fact able to quickly and effectively distinguish healthy subjects from those who actually suffer from Parkinson's syndrome. Although at this stage of development of this device, it is still too early to talk about any final results, since the device is still likely to be refined and supplemented with new features.