I have developed a Novel, Rapid, and Accurate Low-Cost Diagnosis Tool for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
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Date You Started Your Project Started
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure and function of neurons, leading to motor impairment&cognitive decline; it currently afflicts approximately 52million people worldwide--an estimated $700 billion annual burden to healthcare systems and families globally. Despite such burdens, modern healthcare lacks a system-wide diagnosis procedure for these infirmities, and so, the diagnosis of these diseases becomes excessively painful.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
I have developed a rapid, low-cost, data-driven, and generalizable diagnosis procedure for neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimers, Multiple Scleroris, and Parkinsons, that integrates state-of-the art hardware and software systems with recent proof-of-concept medical research to bring neurologist-level expertise about neurodegeneration into general, non-specialized clinics, through a well-researched, measurable, and visualizable method. My digital solution enables healthcare professionals to deliver faster and more conclusive diagnoses to patients, thereby reducing the emotional and economic costs associated with neurodegeneration and improving the quality of life for afflicted patients and their families.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
I embarked on this project shortly after my family friend, Makeba, had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She had first started facing difficulties while at work and doctors had originally attributed her pains to aging; it was only after she got a second opinion about 1year later, as her symptoms worsened, that she reached the correct diagnosis. I was heartbroken to know that had she been diagnosed at an earlier stage, she could have begun treatment earlier--motivating me to find solutions to such barriers in diagnosis.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Sixty-three year old Yazmin Santiago walks into her family clinic for her annual check-in. The nurse calls her name and leads her into the hallway where he takes her weight, height, blood pressure, and temperature. The nurse then asks her to sit in a chair in the hallway to begin the NeuroStroll exam.
First, the nurse helps Yazmin put on the virtual reality headset. Once on, Yazmin completes a series of tasks, including focusing on a single illuminated light, distinguishing objects and faces, and reading words displayed onto her screen. The nurse then removes the headset and places two small stamp-sized sensors on her shins.Once they are on, Yazmin stands up, walks ten feet to a marked line, turns around, walks back to the chair, and sits down.The nurse removes the sensors and they walk into the evaluation room where Yazmin awaits her discussion with primary care provider, Dr. Shariq.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
The NeuroStroll exam procedure can be administered by any clinic worker. There are currently no directly competing products who can provide hospitals&practitioners with similar technology.All materials are a one-time cost of about $5,000 for clinics.Cheaper&earlier diagnosis means that treatments can be applied earlier, which improves the quality of life of the patient&their loved ones and prevents secondary conditions,such as depression,isolation,&anxiety. The 3-4min exam outputs both disease classification&the relevant features justifying the classification for easy interpretation by doctor.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Product is fully functional and market-ready.
My semi-structured interviews, NeuroStroll diagnostic exam trials, and contextual site visits with medical advisors and with eighty individuals affected by neurodegenerative conditions, including patients and close family members, have illustrated that the NeuroStroll technology and exam process will effectively measure the factors that ascertain neurodegenerative conditions and will vastly reduce the feelings of frustration, mistrust, uncertainty, and fear that currently plague individuals and families for months to years while their diagnoses remain in limbo.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
The NeuroStroll technology is now fully-developed and in the testing stage. My team and I are also now looking for additional supporters,partners,& funders that can help us in solidifying the groundwork for bringing the NeuroStroll technology into relevant communities and maximizing its impact.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
How did you hear about this challenge?