New ICAI-lab: greater control over Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s using apps and avatars

Date of news: 14 April 2021

Speaking more softly and poor articulation could be an indication of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, or that these conditions are worsening. Radboud University, Radboud university medical center (Radboudumc) and OnePlanet Research Center are using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse signs of this kind. The aim is to detect the disease at an early stage. They are also developing digital aids, such as apps and avatars, for patients already suffering from these diseases, so that they receive an indication at home that the disease is changing and care providers can intervene in time. The three institutes are now setting up a new ICAI lab for this purpose: AI-RONDO (Risk Profiling and Decision Support).

“There is already a lot of data on patients suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which are two common disorders of the brain. By using AI algorithms and models on this information, we can find new links and for example pinpoint groups facing an increased risk of developing complications. Using these enriched data we are able, following diagnosis, to prescribe treatment for a patient specifically designed for their personal risk profile."

"We can also analyse those signs - such as speaking more softly, articulating less clearly, a change in walking patterns or heart rate - that indicate that something is going wrong,” says Marjan Meinders, one of the lab's three academic directors. “On the basis of a sign like this, a care provider can prevent further deterioration.”

Digital Tools

AI-RONDO makes use of digital tools to collect data in the home situation and to provide the patient with customised personal advice. For example an app linked to a bracelet that provides an analysis of how symptoms changed over the course of the day, linked to the taking of medication. Or an avatar, a virtual assistant that engages in conversation with the patient while simultaneously collecting new data on the progression of the disease from their speech. Meinders: “This extra support - in addition to regular care - offers patients more information on and a greater understanding of their own health. This means they have greater control and are able to delay the disease’s progress themselves.”

About ICAI

The research is being conducted in ICAI’s AI-RONDO lab. ICAI (Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence) is a national network that focusses on technology and talent development between knowledge institutions, industry and government in the field of AI. AI-RONDO is the 24th ICAI lab in the Netherlands and the second in which Radboud University, Radboudumc and OnePlanet Research Center are collaborating. In February this year, they set up the ICAI lab AI for Precision Health, Nutrition and Behavioralong with Wageningen University & Research.

Apart from Radboud University, Radboudumc and OnePlanet Research Center, a number of companies and social organisations are involved in the AI-RONDO research: ANT Neuro, Artinis Medical Systems, imec-NL, InfoSupport, NIVEL, Noldus Information Technology, Orikami Personalized Healthcare, ParkinsonNet, Stichting Open Spraaktechnologie and Virtask. The research team is open to other interested parties.

About Radboud AI

Radboud AI is an initiative that brings together researchers from all seven faculties of Radboud University. In total, the university has more than 170 scientists who are involved in AI research. Based on the citation score, they are number one in AI research in the Netherlands. The university stands out with its focus on the human side of AI, devoting much of its effort to applications where people are at the centre.

Would you like to know more? Please contact:

  • Science Communication, Radboud University,, (+31) (0)24 361 6000