Smartwatches can be a valuable resource in remotely monitoring the progression of a Parkinson's patient's condition and adjust medications accordingly, says study. The study paper was published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine. These smartwatches with the monitoring system in them can detect movement issues and tremors in patients with Parkinson's disease, researchers said. Monitoring the patient 24/7 can also now be possible with such a smartwatch.
A brain disorder marked by a breakdown of the involuntary movement, Parkinson's disease causes tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination, which severely detract a patient's quality of life.
"These symptoms can be treated with medications, but patients respond best if clinicians can precisely titrate and change drug regimens to match the severity of symptoms. However, clinicians currently base their assessments of patients on infrequent clinical visits that fail to capture subtle changes in symptoms." said the researchers, including the Indian-origin Adeeti V. Ullal, Senior Manager, Motion Health Technologies, Apple.
Motor fluctuations Monitor for Parkinson's Disease (MM4PD), a collection of algorithms that uses smartwatch sensors to capture daily fluctuations in the wearer's movement patterns was used by the researchers in the study and found that the measurements it recorded correlated to clinical evaluations of clinical severity.
MM4PD captured symptom changes in response to treatment that matched the clinician's expectations in 94 per cent of evaluated subjects.
The system was tested on 343 patients and 225 among them who had Parkinson's disease were monitored for six months.
The smartwatch-based system can identify the changes in symptoms after strict adherence to proper medication or deep brain stimulation treatment. It can also reveal the subclinical symptoms, thereby suggesting the need for an alternative treatment or adjusting the dose of medication used.
The study gives promises regarding how innovative technology can be used in the field of health to better track medications and improve treatment.