New research, published in the journal npj Parkinson’s Disease, has found that wearable devices track the progression of Parkinson’s Disease more effectively than human clinical observation. The discovery means that the evaluation of current treatment methods could become more accurate.
Conducted by Oxford University neuroscientist Chrystalina Antoniades, and her team, the study tracked 122 physiological metrics. Those metrics allowed them to detect subtle changes in movement. Metrics that pointed to the disease’s progression were logged, including toe movement direction during a step and the length and regularity of strides. Currently, drug trials for Parkinson’s depend on clinical assessments, but such assessments can allow day-to-day changes to go undetected.
Dr. Antoniades said the findings were not a treatment for Parkinson’s, rather, they helped answer the question, is the drug we are currently using working? Data from wearables help scientists evaluate if novel drugs and other therapies for Parkinson’s are slowing the progression of the disease.
While this study focused on Parkinson’s, researchers are optimistic about using sensors to track other illnesses, too.