Brain; Prevention

Tracking device helps assess severity of Parkinson’s

Brain; Prevention

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A device that measures movement and balance can effectively help assess and track the progression of Parkinson’s disease, even when medications are used to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, UT Southwestern researchers have found.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity or stiffness; and balance and coordination difficulties. More than 10 million people worldwide live with the condition, most often people age 50 or older and more frequently men than women, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

UT Southwestern researchers found that the APDM Mobility Lab – a portable set of sensors that track gait, balance, and other movement – can help clinicians estimate the severity of Parkinson’s, even while patients are taking medications to control the symptoms. The UTSW findings, which were published in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences, evolved from a clinical trial involving approximately 200 people.

“Objective assessment tools for Parkinson’s disease are needed to accelerate progress in developing effective therapies,” says Richard Dewey Jr., M.D., Professor of Neurology and senior author of the study. “We might be able to measure the patient’s progress or regression thoroughly and objectively.”