Tuesday January 21, 2020

Can our brain regulate its loss of control?

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New York, Our brain could actually be regulating the progression of glaucoma and other neuro-degenerative diseases, researchers say.

The result has implications in the pursuit of neuroprotective therapies. Glaucoma is a neuro-degenerative disease where patients lose seemingly random patches of vision in each eye.

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medicalxpress.com

Scientists have long thought that glaucoma’s progression is independent of – or uncontrolled by – the brain.

However, the study found that the progression of glaucoma is not random and that the brain may be involved after all.
The study said patients with moderate to severe glaucoma maintained vision in one eye where it was lost in the other – like two puzzle pieces fitting together (a ‘jigsaw Effect’).

This pattern of vision loss is in stark contrast to lose from a brain tumor or stroke, which causes both eyes to develop blind spots in the same location.

“This suggests some communication between the eyes must be going on and that can only happen in the brain,” said study’s lead author William Eric Sponsel from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Sponsel found that the jigsaw effect begins at the earliest stages of glaucoma and discovered clues as to which part of the brain is responsible for optimising vision in the face of glaucoma’s slow destruction of sight.

“Our work has illustrated that the brain will not let us lose control of the same function on both sides of the brain if that can be avoided,” Sponsel said.

The progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which have neuro-degenerative biology similar to glaucoma, may also be actively mediated by the brain.

It seems likely that the same kind of protective mechanism will be at work with other neuro-degenerative disorders.”

The researchers say if the brain regulates neuro-degeneration – that is, if the brain controls how it loses control – then scientists now should be able to look for opportunities to slow or stop the progression of these diseases.

Next Story

Researchers Develop AI Tool To Detect Mental Health Issues

Tracking changes in clinical states is important to detect if there is a change that shows whether the condition has improved or worsened that would warrant the need for changing treatment

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The USC Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL), which has long applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, partnered with researchers to analyse voice data from patients being treated for serious mental illnesses. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can accurately detect changes in clinical states in voice data of patients with bipolar, schizophrenia and depressive disorders as accurately as attending doctors.

“Machine learning allowed us to illuminate the various clinically-meaningful dimensions of language use and vocal patterns of the patients over time and personalised at each individual level,” said Indian-origin researcher and study senior author Shri Narayanan from University of Southern California (USC) in the US.

The USC Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL), which has long applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, partnered with researchers to analyse voice data from patients being treated for serious mental illnesses.

For the results, the researchers used the ‘MyCoachConnect’ interactive voice and mobile tool, created and hosted on the Chorus platform to provide voice diaries related to their mental health states.

SAIL team then collaborated with researchers to apply artificial intelligence to listen to hundreds of voicemails using custom software to detect changes in patients’ clinical states. According to the study, the AI was able to match clinicians’ ratings of their patients.

Tracking changes in clinical states is important to detect if there is a change that shows whether the condition has improved or worsened that would warrant the need for changing treatment, the researchers said.

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Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can accurately detect changes in clinical states in voice data of patients with bipolar, schizophrenia and depressive disorders as accurately as attending doctors. Pixabay

This project builds on SAIL’s body of work in behavioural machine intelligence to analyse psychotherapy sessions to detect empathy of addiction counselors-in-training in order to improve their chances of better outcomes, in addition to the Lab’s work analysing language for cognitive diagnoses and legal processes.

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“Our approach builds on that fundamental technique to hear what people are saying about using the modern AI. We hope this will help us better understand how our patients are doing and transform mental health care to be more personalised and proactive to what an individual needs,” said study lead author Armen Arevian. (IANS)