Could a selfie detect Parkinson’s Disease? (Parkinson’s Selfie Challenge)

Parkinson's SelfieCould Parkinson’s Disease be detected by a selfie? This seems like a rather cruel trick to me, as it can be quite a challenge to take a selfie when you have Parkinson’s!

Wired Health is an annual conference at The Francis Crick Institute in London which focuses on innovation in healthcare technology. The startup pitch winner at this year’s conference was Erin Smith, founder of FacePrint, an automated screening and monitoring tool that claims to be able to detect Parkinson’s Disease using early-stage facial expression indicators. Requiring only a camera equipped smartphone, FacePrint can detect early stages of Parkinson’s Disease within milliseconds. Compatible with facial recognition used by Snapchat and iPhone X, FacePrint could turn these platforms into powerful healthcare tools. Initially developed and validated through two pilot studies, FacePrint is currently preparing for upcoming clinical trials with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Stanford Medical School.

Now 19 years old, Erin Smith was 15 when she had her ‘eureka’ moment while watching Michael J. Fox in his Back To The Future movies. She saw how, as a result of Parkinson’s Disease, Fox’s facial expressions lacked emotion even when he was enthused. Like other sufferers, he also had a droopy smile and upturned eyebrow. Looking back through Fox’s work, Erin saw how his expressions started to change even before he was diagnosed in 1991.

Erin is on leave from Stanford as a Thiel Fellow and was recently recognized in Forbes 30 under 30.

Unfortunately, details on the actual app remain hard to come by, so we await the clinical trials. More information:

Thanks to Hugo for the tip: