News Alert: Apple Watch Can Soon Track Parkinson’s Disease Tremors

With technology growing faster than the speed of light, it’s about time we use these convenient tools to help us with disease prevention and tracking. The Health app, which is available on all Apple devices has been a great way for people to record their physical activity, diet, sleep, heart rate and soon Apple Watch will be able to record tremors commonly seen in Parkinson’s Disease patients.

Apple has been working on this innovative tool for a while now. With Apple’s newest software update, the sensors found on the Apple Watch will now be able to tell researchers the difference between random movement versus the shakes and dyskinesia commonly seen in patients suffering with Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system (specifically the midbrain), is a progressive disease that can become debilitating and cause major reductions in a patient’s quality of life.  With approximately 60,000 people diagnosed every year with Parkinson’s in the U.S. alone and an estimated 10 million people affected globally, the more we can do to measure and research the tremors of Parkinson’s, the better chance we have at developing better treatment options to help ultimately improve patient’s quality of life.

The new “movement disorder API” will accelerate research that’s already underway in how wearable devices can be used to track the progression of Parkinson’s, said Peter Schmidt, a Parkinson’s researcher and vice dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Another exciting aspect that Apple would like to incorporate is to be able to alert patients exactly when their medications wear off so they can be treated preventatively instead of suffering with the return of symptoms. Apple has been dedicated to find new ways to help use technology for medical research since launching their ResearchKit software in 2015. The Researchkit software was launched to encourage researchers to develop iPhone based studies.  With new research and a larger group of patients interested in participating in such studies, there can be greater innovation improving  the way we treat disease.

 

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