Movement tracking device can determine severity of Parkinson's disease

4 February 2015

A new device that is able to measure movement and balance can effectively help determine the severity of Parkinson's disease, and track its progression, research has found. The team from University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center revealed that this was even possible when medication was being administered to reduce or control symptoms.

The researchers found that the APDM Mobility Lab, which is a portable set of sensors that track gait, balance and other movement, could be effective in the treatment of Parkinson's patients, where early diagnosis and medical intervention is crucial.

Senior author of the study, which was published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Dr Richard Dewey, Jr, said objective assessment tools are needed to develop effective therapies quickly for the condition.

Dr Dewey, who is professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics, clinical director of the Clinical Center for Movement Disorders at UT Southwestern, said: "We might be able to actually measure the patient's progress or regression thoroughly and objectively." 

This is an important step as medications are able to control symptoms, but the disease is still difficult to diagnose accurately as there are no blood or laboratory tests that can estimate the degree of Parkinson's disease.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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