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

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by Mary Chapman |

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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.

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