Wristband Aid To Help Manage Parkinson’s

 

 

A MELBOURNE firm is expanding its production of wearable technology designed to help
Parkinson’s disease sufferers live a better quality of life.

The technology, a wristband called the Parkinson’s Kinetigraph, has a built-in accelerometer like the

common one found in smartphones and wearable tech devices such as the Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex.

The Kinetigraph collects raw movement data which shows the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Clinicians can use the data to finetune medication.

The Melbourne-based Global Kinetics Corporation managing director Andrew Maxwell said the firm

had developed two software algorithms that turned the wristband data into information discernible to

doctors.

Patients typically wore the device for 10 days. It measured the level of “bradykinesia” — the slowness of

movement patients experienced at the onset of symptoms. Bradykinesia typically is treated with

dopamine replacement therapy.

The device also measured “dyskinesia” — more advanced symptoms of Parkinson’s characterised by

involuntary muscle movements.

By finely tuning medication levels, sufferers could have more time in the near-to-normal state at the

beginning of symptoms, and hence an improvement in their quality of life through better movement, Mr

Maxwell said.

Having more precise data from the wristband would see patients receive the appropriate drugs at the right

time.

“We believe that the main focus that clinicians are interested to know about is what’s happening with the

patient’s bradykinesia and dyskinesia and the fluctuations between those two states,” Mr Maxwell said.

“You can most likely use oral therapies for longer without having to move to the more advanced

therapies for Parkinson’s which includes more invasive treatments, such as deep brain stimulation.

“You can also make a decision about how people are progressing with their symptoms and when is the

appropriate time for them to be moving to an advanced therapy,” Mr Maxwell said.

Global Kinetics, a private Australian company incorporated in 2007, has focused on Parkinson’s since its

inception, through the initial research and development phases to commercialisation and production.

The device was first developed at the Melbourne based Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental

Health through work undertaken by Professor Malcolm Horne and Dr Robert Griffiths. They co-founded

Global Kinetics Corporation.

The original Kinetigraph bands were launched in 2012, with 500 sold so far. They were sold to hospitals

which provided them to patients for 10 days’ medical surveillance.

The wristbands alert patients as to when to take prescribed medication and patients could time stamp

when they have taken it. Kinetigraphs are used in 50 hospitals in nine countries: Australia, Germany, the

Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Global Kinetics was now seeking to penetrate the US and European markets and was hopeful of getting

US Food and Drug Administration approval this year, Mr Maxwell said.

He said Global Kinetics also was looking to expand the device’s functions. “We think the way things are

progressing more and more medical data collection will occur from wrist-worn sensors or sensors worn

on the body, and they will communicate with each other. More and more data will be connected and there

will be platforms that evolve to interpret the data over time.”

 

 

Article Credit:  Chris Griffith - THE AUSTRALIAN

Picture Credit: David Geraghty - News Limited

Wristband Aid To Help Manage Parkinson’s

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