App allows patients to scroll social media by doing facial exercises

Scrolling Therapy now available on Google Play store

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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Eurofarma and Dentsu Creative have teamed up to launch a new app that allows people with Parkinson’s disease to engage with social media by changing their facial expressions.

The app’s goal is to give patients a fun and easy way to exercise their facial muscles. The idea was championed by Sebastián Porta, an employee of Dentsu with Parkinson’s.

“It is very difficult to sit in front of a mirror for 45 minutes a day and watch your facial expressions changing in front of your eyes,” Porta said in a press release. “Living with the disease is already difficult enough without literally facing it in the mirror every day.  That’s why I felt very motivated to propose a technology that could support all patients through an entertaining activity, which is browsing social media.”

The app, called Scrolling Therapy, is now available for free on the Google Play store and will be coming to Apple soon, according to Eurofarma. It’s available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered facial recognition software, it lets users navigate through Facebook and Instagram by changing their facial expression.

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How Facial Exercises Can Benefit People With Parkinson’s

Giving facial muscles a workout

Most people with Parkinson’s will experience some loss of control over their facial muscles, which can make it hard for them to make their feelings understood and can contribute to swallowing and speech problems.

Exercising these muscles by moving through different facial expressions is widely recommended as a part of regular therapy with Parkinson’s, according to Eurofarma, as it can help patients retain facial muscle function and delay the onset of problems. Few patients have the time and energy to set aside to focus on this type of exercise, however.

Combining the work with an enjoyable activity might make it easier for patients to incorporate the exercise into their day to day lives. The app was created with the support of the Brazil Parkinson Association.

“We are very optimistic about bringing an option that encourages people with Parkinson’s to exercise. Our expectation is that, associated with specialized rehabilitation, this innovative technology can engage our community to stay active. We are very happy to be able to support this new tool,” said Erica Tardelli, president of Brazil Parkinson Association.