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Smartwatches can monitor Parkinson’s symptoms, study says

You smartwatches — or smart watches — could help detect changes in Parkinson’s symptoms over time in patients in the early stages of the disease. The discovery is from a study published in the journal NJP Parkinson’s Disease, from Nature, on June 12th. According to researchers, these devices can help understand disease progression and speed the approval of new therapies.

Parkinson’s affects the central nervous system and the motor system, causing symptoms such as tremors, muscle rigidity, postural instability and reduced speed and range of movements. However, the initial signs and progression of the disease may vary from patient to patient.

From the point of view of study, the tools traditionally used to screen for Parkinson’s are often subjective and only collect information during clinical visits. As a result, these screening options may not adequately portray patients’ everyday experience with the disease, which has contributed to the slow pace in the development of new therapies, according to researchers.

Given this, smartwatches could be an alternative to monitoring the symptoms of the disease, such as tremor and reduced movement. Additionally, additional information can be collected through tasks such as finger tapping and voice recording, to monitor speech-related symptoms.

How was the study carried out?

In the new study, called WATCH-PD, researchers followed participants with early-stage Parkinson’s for 12 months. Over the period, data collected by the devices showed that patients with early Parkinson’s experienced cognitive declines in gait measurements, increased tremor and modest changes in speech.

Additionally, the watches detected decreases in arm swing, a common clinical feature of the disease, and the number of daily steps. According to the study, the progression of symptoms in participants was consistent with other studies that analyzed the disease over the long term.

“Digital measurements promise to provide objective, sensitive, real-world measures of disease progression in Parkinson’s disease,” says Jamie Adams, associate professor of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and lead author of the study, in press release.

“This study shows that data generated by smartwatches and smartphones can remotely monitor and detect changes in multiple disease domains. These digital assessments can help evaluate the effectiveness of future therapies”, he adds.

Know the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Source: CNN Brasil

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