Parkinson's disease is the world's fastest growing neurological disorder. Research to elucidate the mechanisms of Parkinson's disease and automate diagnostics would greatly improve the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease. Current diagnostic methods are expensive with limited availability. Considering the long progression time of Parkinson's disease, a desirable screening should be diagnostically accurate even before the onset of symptoms to allow medical intervention. We promote attention for retinal fundus imaging, often termed a window to the brain, as a diagnostic screening modality for Parkinson's disease. We conduct a systematic evaluation of conventional machine learning and deep learning techniques to classify Parkinson's disease from UK Biobank fundus imaging. Our results suggest Parkinson's disease individuals can be differentiated from age and gender matched healthy subjects with 71% accuracy. This accuracy is maintained when predicting either prevalent or incident Parkinson's disease. Explainability and trustworthiness is enhanced by visual attribution maps of localized biomarkers and quantified metrics of model robustness to data perturbations.
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia. Early diagnosis is critical for patients to benefit from potential intervention and treatment. The retina has been hypothesized as a diagnostic site for AD detection owing to its anatomical connection with the brain. Developed AI models for this purpose have yet to provide a rational explanation about the decision and neither infer the stage of disease's progression. Along this direction, we propose a novel model-agnostic explainable-AI framework, called Granular Neuron-level Explainer (LAVA), an interpretation prototype that probes into intermediate layers of the Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models to assess the AD continuum directly from the retinal imaging without longitudinal or clinical evaluation. This method is applied to validate the retinal vasculature as a biomarker and diagnostic modality for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) evaluation. UK Biobank cognitive tests and vascular morphological features suggest LAVA shows strong promise and effectiveness in identifying AD stages across the progression continuum.