Apple Watch, A Smartwatch-Based Monitoring System Can Track Illness Signs Among Parkinson Patients
(Photo : Screenshot from YouTube/Total Tech News) Apple Watch might be the latest smartwatch-based monitoring system that can detect underlying symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

From creating big technological advancements to integrating highly-specialized machines to health, Apple has added another product, the Apple Watch, which can monitor the underlying symptoms of Parkinson's disease patients.

What's Special About Apple Watch

In a study entitled "Smartwatch inertial sensors continuously monitor real-world motor fluctuations in Parkinson's disease," authored by Rob Powers, Edith Arnold, Maryam Etezadi-Amoli, Irida Mance, Sara Kianian, Maxsim Gibiansky, and other scientists, health tracking watch sensors paved the way to track the resting tremor and dyskinesia among Parkinson patients.

Researchers reported their work in the journal Science Transiational Medicine published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to design the system which will help detect the symptoms of the said brain disorder.

The research will help alleviate the study of Parkinson's disease in the patients and if it will be improved in the succeeding trials, monitoring the patient 24/7 can now be possible with the Apple Watch. Since Parkinson's disease cannot be cured, the specialists will only have to assess the patients and how they progress through the prescribed medications.

There are devices that are purposely-made for Parkinson's disease monitoring, but since technological innovation has been evolving over time, the reliance of people on gadgets increases since they consider the comfort in wearing them.

Apple Watch's accelerometer and the gyroscope data were merged to the monitoring system called the Motor Fluctuations Monitor for Parkinson's disease (MM4PD). Two conditions are covered by this system for easy detection.

A common symptom of Parkinson's disease is resting tremors which can happen in different parts of the body like hands and legs. The other one, dyskinesia, is an erratic movement of the parts of the body. The latter, however, is not a symptom but rather is a complication of Parkinson's due to medications.

For the pilot study, 118 people have been tested where the smartwatch's data is matched to the MDS-UPDRS Part III, the scoring system by which Parkinson's motor symptoms are measured.

After the pilot study, 225 people with Parkinson's patients were monitored for six months. The measurement data during the time period are used for the symptom profiles of the patients.

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Through the research, it could be concluded that the smartwatch can be a good support device. Furthermore, it will also help the clinicians to prove if MM4PD can be a useful tool for the identification of the symptom responses to treatment.

Since the study should take a lot of trials for it to be more valid and efficient, another group of 171 adults without Parkinson's underwent monitoring for a year. The pilot study was composed of 82 men and 36 women, while in the longitudinal study, 156 men and 69 women participated. However, the race of the participants was disregarded by the researchers.

Still, the information is still lacking since symptoms vary from patient to patient. In addition, symptoms are also changing over time with the disease.

What the Experts Say

According to Stat News, the usage of the Apple Watch was approved by the researchers since it could bridge what's missing in the study. More so, the specialists could also develop their previous treatments for the symptoms.

For Michael Okun, who was the executive director of the Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, Apple Watch aids the clinicians to help them with what's going on with the patient for the entire day.

"The hope is that some of this technological innovation will help in the areas of better tracking medications, better tracking symptoms, and having more real-time control over this because it's complicated," said Okun.

Meanwhile, neurology professor K. Ray Chaudhuri spoke that not all Parkinson's patients experience fluctuations even though the study indicated the "on" and "off" fluctuations are encountered as such.

If Apple Watch will be available in the market, affordability is the first one that people will see. The researchers believe that in the case of its launch, it will be only limited to all the people.

To know more about Parkinson's disease, watch the video below:

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Written by Joen Coronel

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