First ever treatment for face-blindness discovered
An optician has come up with a pioneering new treatment to cure people of the face-blindness condition.
Relating to the inability to recognisefacial expressions, face-blindness is otherwise known by its technical term, prosopagnosiaand affects one in 40 people.
The new treatment for face-blindness involves altering the visual perception pathways by using coloursto enhance the subject being looked at; faces in this case.
Once the most effective colourhas been identified, patients are prescribed tailor made glasses with lenses in that shade.
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Face-blindness is often a result of a brain trauma and is particularly common in those who are on the autistic spectrum.
Ian Jordan, an optometrist from Scotland, discovered the treatment by accident while treating a patient for a different sensory condition.
Speaking about the treatment in an interview he said: “This is a real breakthrough and will be life-changing for those with prosopagnosia.”
“Until now, there hasn't been any way to treat it - just techniques and strategies to deal with the consequences.”
He added: “Some people are able to piece together a person's identity by recognisingthe way they walk or the sound of their voice, but the prospect of meeting and having to identify new people, either socially, at work or at school, can be very distressing.”
Patients who have received the treatment cannot speak highly enough of it. Isabelle Thoraldsaid: “When I put the glasses on, everything looks a hundred times better. I can see a whole face at once.”
Meanwhile, Alan Mandelsonsaid: “It gave me more confidence to go out and actually try to socialise.”
Ian Jordan will now be presenting his findings in London at the Treating Autism 7th Biomedical Conference and Exhibition.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”