The Michael J Fox Foundation is teaming-up with Intel to use wearable sensors to monitor the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Under the deal, Intel will provide patients with smart watches that record continuous data about them. Later on, this information will be collected, encrypted & anonymized, and then analyzed to detect patterns and, hopefully, make new discoveries.
The potential to collect and analyze data from thousands of individuals on measurable features of Parkinson’s could enable researchers to assemble a better picture of the clinical progression of Parkinson’s and track its relationship to molecular changes.“Data science and wearable computing hold the potential to transform our ability to capture and objectively measure patients’ actual experience of disease, with unprecedented implications for Parkinson’s drug development, diagnosis and treatment,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The potential to collect and analyze data from thousands of individuals on measurable features of Parkinson’s, such as slowness of movement, tremor and sleep quality, could enable researchers to assemble a better picture of the clinical progression of Parkinson’s and track its relationship to molecular changes. Wearables can unobtrusively gather and transmit objective, experiential data in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing researchers to get a critical mass of data to detect patterns and make new discoveries.
The organizations have already carried out some tests earlier in the year and now they plan to release an app to help doctors study the effects of different medications. The participants (16 Parkinson’s patients and nine control volunteers) wore the devices during two clinic visits and at home continuously over four days.
Intel data scientists are now correlating the data collected to clinical observations and patient diaries to gauge the devices’ accuracy, and are developing algorithms to measure symptoms and disease progression.
Later this year, Intel and MJFF plan to launch a new mobile application that enables patients to report their medication intake as well as how they are feeling.
The actor Michael J Fox created the New York-based foundation in 2000 after being diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder. It is believed that Parkinson’s is brought on by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors, but the exact cause is still unknown.