Two examples of how wearable tech aims to help patients with Parkinson’s disease


Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies (GLNT) and start-up XEED are working on utilising wearable technology to aid patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

GLNT released findings from a new study, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, examining how clinicians can use wearable tech to decide when considering advanced therapy for patients. GLNT’s KinesiaOne technology – which uses wearable sensors linked to a web portal – allows medical professionals to be aware of certain variables such as symptom severity and fluctuations in motor skills, resulting in better care when compared to standard care.

“An important reason we developed and validated our Kinesia technology was to give clinicians a window into what happens when individuals with Parkinson’s disease leave the clinic,” said Dustin Heldman, Great Lakes biomedical research manager in a statement. “The results of this study are advancing our technology beyond the initial building blocks of algorithm validation and usability. We are now seeing the technology deployed and validated in targeted applications to help guide clinical decision-making and improve patient care.”

Heldman added: “We aim to develop and implement algorithms that use information captured by Kinesia to screen patients remotely and automatically identify patients who may be candidates for advanced therapy. This type of screening might help identify candidates that would not otherwise consider advanced therapy and improve access to advanced therapy for patients who live far from expert centres.

“Remote monitoring could also benefit patients after they receive advanced therapy by determining if a patient is responding well to the therapy or is in need of a therapy adjustment.”

Elsewhere, Alfredo Muniz and Sade Oba, students at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), are developing wearable sensors that provide 24/7 monitoring of movement of a user’s limbs. The two have formed a startup company, XEED, and were among the four winners of the inaugural President’s Innovation Prize, aimed to encourage Penn students take on innovative commercial ventures which help society.

Muniz said: “People with Parkinson's have trouble controlling their movements because their brains don’t produce enough of the neurotransmitter dopamine, but a way to get around that is to really force your body to do more than it’s used to doing. That produces more dopamine, and it becomes easier. However there’s currently no objective way to measure those movements in physical therapy.”

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