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Here’s how scientists are studying Parkinson’s disease using robots

This video is part of: Centre for Health and Healthcare

Scientists are utilizing robots for a deeper understanding of hallucinations experienced by Parkinson's disease patients. Here's what you need to know.

Here's how hallucinations are induced

The EPFL study utilizes two robots to induce a "presence hallucination" in the participant. The participant pokes the front robot. After a slight delay, the back robot pokes the participant. This triggers a presence hallucination.

The participant then wears a VR headset showing a room filled with people. The tendency to overestimate the number of people in a room, a natural evolutionary response to a potential threat, is more pronounced in patients with Parkinson's.

It can manifest even before tremors or stiffness, potentially signaling cognitive decline and the need for early intervention.

Parkinson's disease: a global challenge

Parkinson's disease affects over 8.5 million people worldwide. Non-communicable diseases cause a staggering 41 million deaths globally each year, with 29 million of these occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

This research holds promise for earlier identification of patients at risk for cognitive decline and the development of improved treatment options.

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