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December 22, 2020 Tuesday 03:37:57 PM IST

New app to monitor Parkinson’s progression at home

A new smartphone app developed by researchers at UCL and Birkbeck, University of London, is enabling doctors to remotely monitor their patients’ progression of Parkinson’s symptoms, as reported in a new clinical trial.  The findings, published in npj Parkinson’s Disease, show that the app can provide clinicians with a more complete picture of a person’s condition than they can get from a typically brief medical check-up.

Lead researcher Dr Ashwani Jha (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) said: “Parkinson’s disease is highly variable, as it can progress at very different rates in different people, who will not all experience the same symptoms. For that reason, people with the condition need regular check-ups, often about twice a year, so that doctors can monitor the progression of their symptoms and update their treatment plan.

The app, called cloudUPDRS, was developed by a team of computer scientists and clinical researchers, working alongside people with Parkinson’s disease, who regularly provided feedback to ensure the app was user-friendly. The scientists employed machine learning to train the app.

Birkbeck Professor George Roussos manufactured the app, which is certified as a medical device under UK regulations and includes both self-assessment questions and physical tests, enabled by the smartphone’s movement and touch sensors, to measure symptoms such as tremors and gait.

The researchers are continuing to refine the app and are planning a larger trial to help determine how the app could be integrated into clinical practice.

(Content Courtesy: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/dec/new-app-monitor-parkinsons-progression-home)