Customized Individual Therapies from Mobile Technologies
That new cell phone that has more applications than you can master? Well, there may be a few new applications that can make your life with PARKINSON’S DISEASE a lot more manageable. A team of researchers in Spain has developed new programs to take the information gathered from wearable monitors connected to your cell phone and turn it into customized, personalized treatment for some of the troublesome symptoms of PARKINSON’S DISEASE.
Small, wearable personal monitors are already able to gather a wealth of information about tremors, stiffness, balance because the technology of gyroscopes is already part of the cell phone process. All of this, plus information about heart rate, exercise, body responses to a multitude of external stimuli can be gathered and sent to a monitoring base that will alert both the wearer or the physician of any abnormal data that could predict a situation needing a specific or even an immediate response. Physicians can use the data to better understand an individual patient’s response to medications and then devise a program of therapy specific to the needs and responses of that individual.
The group from the LIfe SupportingTechnologies program of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid has worked to create low cost wearable sensors and then developed a computer program to manage the data collected from these sensors to identify and measure the individual symptoms. Making the sensors less invasive and more comfortable for the users has been a high priority. They also focused on creating the program to analyze the information generated by the sensors and a form for transmitting it to the medical staff in a way that will help them build a profile for each patient based on their unique set of symptoms. With this information effectively organized, their doctors will be able to create a customized treatment plan that can improve the patient’s quality of life on a day to day or even hour to hour basis.
The team is also working on a new program that will connect a musical application to the cell phone to promote a more enjoyable program of exercises for people with PARKINSON’S. The goal is to help promote better balance and gait and improve their movements, especially at home.
This project has been part of a European research program that was funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme that included universities, hospitals and major medical compaines found in Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Poland, Cyprus and Greece.
Cancela, J., Pastorina, M., Tzallas, A., Tsipouras, M., Rigas, G., Arredondo, M., Fotiadis, D., Wearability Assessment of a Wearable System for Parkinson’s Disease Remote Monitoring Based on a Body Area Network of Sensors. Sensors, 2014; 14(9): 17235 DOI: 10.3390/s140917235
Review by Marcia McCall