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MJFF, Intel join hands to improve Parkinson’s disease treatment


KARACHI: The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and Intel Corporation on Tuesday joined hands to improve research and treatment for Parkinsons disease - a neuro-degenerative brain disease second to Alzheimers in worldwide prevalence, through advanced technologies.
The collaboration includes a multiphase research study using a new big data analytics platform that detects patterns in participant data collected from wearable technologies used to monitor symptoms. This effort is an important step in enabling researchers and physicians to measure progression of the disease and to speed progress toward breakthroughs in drug development.
“Nearly 200 years after Parkinson’s disease was first described by Dr James Parkinson in 1817, we are still subjectively measuring Parkinson’s disease largely the same way doctors did then,” said The Michael J Fox Foundation CEO Todd Sherer. 
Data science, wearable computing and data from other sources hold the potential to transform our ability to capture and objectively measure patients’ actual experience of the disease, with unprecedented implications for Parkinson’s drug development, diagnosis and treatment.
“The variability in Parkinson’s symptoms creates unique challenges in monitoring progression of the disease,” said Intel Data Center Group Senior Vice President and General Manager Diane Bryant, adding that emerging technologies can not only create a new paradigm for measurement of Parkinson’s, but as more data is made available to the medical community, it may also point to currently unidentified features of the disease that could lead to new areas of research.
Meanwhile, another polio case surfaced in Karachi on Tuesday. A senior official of Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Sindh said that the child of Pashto-speaking family, resident of Mansehra Colony, UC- 5 of Landhi Town had a history of refusals.
The child’s family acknowledged that they were reluctant to get the child vaccinated said that Ahmed, however, did receive two doses of the OPV as part of routine immunisation and six during special campaigns.
The child was brought to a local doctor in Saddar Town with his right leg affected in July leading to relevant investigations coupled with required confirmation at National Institute of Health (Islamabad), that established him to be affected by polio wild virus. According to available records the child had received the last OPV dose on March 25 this year. “The polio case reported took the total toll to eleven in Sindh,” said Expanded Program on Immunisation (EPI) official.
Expanded Programme on Immunisation Deputy Project Director, Dr Durray Naaz said, “New P1 wild case was reported from Mansehra Colony, Landhi.” She added that the poliovirus was detected in a one year-old Ahmed in Union Council-5 in Mansehra Colony.
A health department official said, “Eleven cases were reported from Sindh out of which 10 were from Karachi and one from Sanghar.” He added, “Four cases were reported from Gadap town, two from Landhi town and one each from Baldia, Orangi, SITE, North Karachi and Sanghar District.” He informed that the total number of polio cases reached 117 in Pakistan in 2014.
In reply to a question they agreed that improved basic health services are extremely crucial for polio eradication in the country. Senior researcher and paediatrician Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta has repeatedly urged the authorities to bundle polio immunisations into health-care packages that include vaccines for other diseases such as measles and diphtheria.

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