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A chaotic test for Parkinson's

Originally Posted by Matt Venanzi

In an article from New Scientist - 11 April 2006

CHAOS theory could help monitor the effectiveness of treatment for Parkinson’s disease and aid in earlier diagnosis, according to physicists who have developed a method to monitor how much sufferers tremor.There is still no definitive test to identify Parkinson’s disease in its onset. Now Renat Yulmetyev at Kazan State University in Russia and colleagues have adapted a statistical technique based on chaos theory, and used to study earthquake vibrations, to monitor the distinctive progression of symptoms such as tremors.Sixteen people in Canada who had Parkinson’s disease held their index fingers in the path of a laser beam for measurements of tremor frequency in their fingers and the team analysed the results. In patients in the early stages of the disease, the tremor pattern is more chaotic, says Yulmetyev. As the disease takes hold, the tremors not only become more pronounced, but they become much more periodic and regular. Medication with the drug L-dopa causes the tremor patterns to become more chaotic again (Physica A, DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2006.01.077).
Click here for the full 20-page PDF of the report.(Physica A, DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2006.01.077)For more information on Parkinson’s disease, click here.