digital pen brainFor a while now, doctors have relied on tests where they get patients to draw objects like clocks to help diagnose if their brains might be have issues, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, as you can see in the drawings above. However by the time these tests are conducted, it might have already been too late.

This is why researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have suggested a new method of testing which involves the use of a digital pen and software. The idea is that the pen is connected to the software, which in turn will be able to more accurately predict the potential of onset brain conditions based on what and how you draw.

For example according to the research, it has been found that healthy people tend to take their time thinking of what to draw instead of scribbling, while those suffering from Alzheimer’s spend a lot more time thinking that drawing, while those with Parkinson’s will have difficulty with the drawing process.

Unfortunately as it stands the algorithms deployed by the researchers aren’t ready to be used in the field just yet, but it does hold a lot of potential. According to MIT Professor Randall Davis, “We’re eager to see how well our model will work with other screening tools we’re developing. As researchers, we’re just beginning to investigate all of the ways that your subtle behaviors reveal things about your brain.”

Filed in Medical. Read more about research and Science.

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