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Smart phones to measure the severity of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A pilot application on smart phones can monitor changes in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease throughout the day and send data to doctors to help treat patients, US researchers say.

“Like diabetes, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are uneven, which can lead to a variety of treatments,” said senior researcher Sochi Sari from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “We can not measure this disparity at home, and measurements in clinics are limited.”

The researchers, in the Journal of Gamma Neurology, wrote that the application developed by Saraya and her colleagues required patients to complete five tasks evaluating speech, finger tapping, walking, balancing and reaction time.

Based on this, the application records the “degree of Parkinson’s disease” and can be used by physicians to assess the severity of the symptoms and modify the drugs on this basis.

“This new development is very exciting because it was not possible a few years ago,” Saria said by telephone. “Patients are excited, willing and willing to do so with their phones.”

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder in the nervous system that affects neurons producing dopamine in the brain.

Symptoms include tremor, stiffness of the body, slow movement and difficulty walking.

The researchers developed the Hopkins PD application for Android-based smartphones to evaluate the performance of the five tasks as much as patients wanted to use the application.

The scores recorded by the application are based on the types of evaluations usually performed at doctors’ clinics.

To test the application and registration system, the researchers tested 129 patients who completed more than 6,000 assessments on their smartphones.

Recorded scores ranged from 0 to 100, and higher numbers indicate more severe symptoms.

Participants completed tasks before and after the first dose of dopamine, and completed routine clinic tasks.

The symptoms varied at a rate of 14 points over the course of the day, which helped doctors understand the varying severity of symptoms in patients.
Source: Reuters

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