Parkinson’s Foundation, Amazon’s Alexa Partner to Share Quality Information

Parkinson’s Foundation, Amazon’s Alexa Partner to Share Quality Information
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Through a partnership, the Parkinson’s Foundation and Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice service are helping to make Parkinson’s (PD) education and resources available to more people.

Alexa-enabled devices now cite Parkinson’s Foundation sources, in English or Spanish, when answering questions about the disease. Alexa is available on Amazon Echo devices and third-party devices that offer it built-in.

“We are thrilled to work with Amazon to move into this exciting world of smart speakers to help even more people gain access to the information about PD they need most,” John L. Lehr, foundation president and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation, said in a press release.

“Our hope is that this partnership will help us further reach and better support the PD community throughout every stage of their journey.”

The integration allows Alexa to give detailed and possibly more reliable answers to questions about aspects of Parkinson’s or disease resources that patients and their caregivers, friends and family, or healthcare professionals might have.

Alexa’s answers concerning Parkinson’s come directly from the nonprofit organization’s webpages. Topics can include Parkinson’s and COVID-19, disease treatment, symptoms, causes, early signs of disease, Parkinson’s statistics, diet and nutrition, emotional well-being, dental health, sexual health, daily living activities, legal and financial matters, and information for new patients.

When anyone asks Alexa a question, the device records that person’s voice. The recording is sent via the internet to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, which breaks the recording into commands the device understands. Then, the system routes the pertinent output back to the user’s device.

For example, questions like “Alexa, what is a good resource for Parkinson’s disease,” or “Alexa, what should I know about Parkinson’s disease and the coronavirus?” will get responses directly from the Foundation’s resource database.

Go here to learn more about Amazon Alexa.

The Parkinson’s Foundation works to make life better for patients and their families by improving care and advancing research toward a cure.

Roughly seven to 10 million people globally have Parkinson’s disease, the second-most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. An estimated 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Ana holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Lisbon and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) in Lisbon, Portugal. She graduated with a BSc in Genetics from the University of Newcastle and received a Masters in Biomolecular Archaeology from the University of Manchester, England. After leaving the lab to pursue a career in Science Communication, she served as the Director of Science Communication at iMM.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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