DIGIPD – Validating DIGItal biomarkers for better personalized treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

BMBF-project / Project start /

The European project DIGIPD, funded with around 1.6 million euros and coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI, is investigating the extent to which digital techniques (sensors, speech recognition, recognition of facial expressions) can be used to make a more precise and individualized diagnosis and prognosis of Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson’s disease is affecting 7 to 10 million patients worldwide with strongly increasing prevalence in Western societies. Patients suffer from a variety of symptoms (e.g. tremor, gait and speech impairment, cognitive decline), which differ widely between individuals and can vary over short periods of time. The cause of the disease is mostly unknown. Existing medications cannot stop disease progression, which highly varies from subject to subject, imposing major challenges for disease management as well as discovery of new medications.

The DIGIPD project evaluates modern digital technology measuring impairment of gait, voice and face movement with respect to more accurate diagnosis of symptoms (also outside clinics) and to prediction of disease progression. DIGIPD will disentangle the relationship of digital measures to established clinical questionnaires and to molecular biomarkers. Physicians can use the outcome of DIGIPD to adapt treatment. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies can use a grouping of patients with similar progression of the disease to increase the chances of clinical trials bringing new and better drugs to the market.

Since DIGIPD heavily relies on Artificial Intelligence using personal data, the project will include an analysis of the legal situation, and it will involve patients via dedicated interviews.

DIGIPD started in May 2021 and has a duration of three years. The project is funded by the European network for personalized medicine, ERA PerMed, in the "Joint Transnational Call 2020". The German share of DIGIPD is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


Prof. Dr. Holger Fröhlich, Fraunhofer SCAI

Partner institutions and PIs

  • Prof. Dr. Jean-Christophe Corvol, Clinical Research Center for Neurosciences at the Institut du Cerveau et de la moelle epiniere (ICM - Brain and spine institute)
  • Prof. Dr. Enrico Glaab, Prof. Dr. Jochen Klucken, University of Luxembourg
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Winkler, University Hospital Erlangen
  • Prof. Dr. Dijana Petrovska, Télécom SudParis
  • Prof. Dr. Cécile de Terwange, University of Namur

Project duration: 04/2021 – 03/2024
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