With a growing array of smart applications, ubiquitous cloud compute infrastructure and Big Data, new forms of remote clinical research and so called “digital health” apps emerge on the market. Recently, Apple researchers in collaboration with Parkinson’s disease therapeutic experts completed a study demonstrating that the Apple Watch can be used as a digital tool to actually monitor an individual’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Tracking the motor symptoms possibly indicating the neurodegenerative disorder, (tremors and involuntary movements) the research team were able to leverage the Apple Watch to identify the actual effects of medication.
A long-term degenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease leads to the death of cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain, leading to a dopamine deficit. The cause of the cell death isn’t known for sure but likely involves the build-up of misfolded proteins into Lewy bodies in the neurons. By 2015, about 6.2 million lived with the condition.
This most recent breakthrough could lead to considerable advancement in research as in the future investigators can seamlessly collect continuous feeds of real word data based on the wearer of the watch, leading to new ways to track, monitor and measure disease progression. Although some monitoring technology exists, the move toward seamless “wearables” for research and care may have progressed with these study findings.
With the findings published in Science Translational Medicine, the authors found that the Apple Watch could help support longitudinal remote monitoring of motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to Apple, the team included researchers from Renaissance School of Medicine (Stony Brook University); Massachusetts General Hospital; Harvard Medical School; Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Center of Silicon Valley and Silicon Valley Parkinson’s Center.
Adeeti V. Ullal, PhD, Corresponding Author, Senior Manager, Motion Health Technologies, Apple,
For the rest of the authors, find the link.