Helping Patients Figure Out When Their Meds Are Wearing Off
Schmidt said one particularly exciting use of the Apple Watch could be for patients to pinpoint precisely when their meds are wearing off throughout the day.
As Schmidt explained, patients will typically ramp up their meds as the disease gets worse. Many will take them three times a day with every meal. But the time between lunch and dinner can sometimes stretch on, making the symptoms more pronounced at around 5 o’clock.
“Many patients don’t know it’s happening and they think they’re getting tired or hungry and symptoms are returning,” he explained. For those patients, taking an earlier dose of meds before dinner can be a big relief. “That small change could help make a big difference with their symptoms.”Schmidt said the research community is also exploring other uses for wearable devices to help Parkinson’s patients, such as whether it can help diagnose the disease earlier.
Apple launched its ResearchKit software in 2015 to open up opportunities for medical researchers to launch iPhone-based studies. Since then, some of the most compelling studies with the most promising results have been aimed at Parkinson’s.
Academics immediately saw an opportunity to study for the first time how patients functioned outside of the clinic, particularly on weekends and evenings. People with the disease carry their phones and other devices with them everywhere, but many only go to the doctor every three to six months.
Why Is Apple Moving Into Healthcare
The release of Movement Disorder API is far from Apples first foray into the world of healthcare. Since the release of the Apple Health app back in 2014, the company has identified the health industry as a key market.
In October 2017, Apple announced the Apple Heart Study to determine whether the Apple Watch can be used to accurately identify heart irregularities such as Atrial Fibrillation.
In January this year Apple announced that its Health App would be able to connect to hospitals and clinics, allowing users to download their electronic health record directly to their iPhone.
In addition to releasing the Movement Disorder API at WWDC, Apple also released Health Records API. This will allow developers to access the aforementioned EHR data from the Health App and use it in third-party apps such as medication reminders.
Clearly then, Apple is taking the healthcare industry seriously and it is easy to understand why.
Firstly, the iPhone and Apple Watch are powerful tools for collecting health-related data. Apple now has a record 44% share of the smartphone market in the US and sold 8 million Apple Watches in the final quarter of 2017. That is more watches than Rolex, Omega, and Swatch sold collectively.
Secondly, Apple maintains notoriously strict control over the iPhones operating system, iOS. This is in contrast to the open source nature of Googles Android operating system, Apples biggest competitor in the smartphone market.
Using A Smartwatch To Help Detect The Progression Of Parkinson’s Disease
A team of engineers from Apple Inc. working with researchers from several institutions in the U.S. has found that smartwatches could provide a valuable resource in helping to track the progression of Parkinson’s disease in patients. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes a pilot trial of an app created for the Apple smartwatch and an informal experiment with 225 Parkinson’s patients using the smartwatch and app for six months.
The team began with a pilot study to determine whether their app worked as desired along with 118 volunteers and several clinicians trained to track Parkinson’s symptoms. Emboldened by their results in the pilot, the researchers conducted a larger study with 225 Parkinson’s patients who agreed to wear the smartwatch for six months. The researchers found that the smartwatches were able to spot some symptoms missed by their caregivers. They suggest that the smartwatch and app could be used as a tool to help doctors plot out medication dosages that align with symptoms as the disease progresses.
Apple has not announced whether it will proceed with testing of the device or attempt to conduct clinical trials. If they do, the company will likely need to seek approval of their system by the FDA.
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Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
The symptoms of Parkinsons can be broken down into motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. Symptoms can vary among individuals, and not all symptoms have to be present for a diagnosis to be made. Likewise, if you have a diagnosis of PD, it doesnt necessarily mean youll have all of these symptoms.
The five primary motor symptoms of PD include: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia , balance problems , and walking or gait problems.2Changes to the voice are also common, including changes in volume or fluctuation, stuttering, or slurred speech.
Non-motor symptoms of PD include changes in the sense of smell, sleep disturbances, mood changes, changes in cognition, fatigue, personality disturbances, urinary issues, and more. While the Apple Watch wont be able to help with any of these symptoms, its worth noting them and keeping an eye out for any unusual symptoms that may come up.
Keeping A Watch On Parkinsons Disease
Andrew Johnson is CTO for AIMed with responsibility for database management, web development along with client management. A highly experienced publishing executive with a passion for technology.
A team of engineers from Apple Inc. working with researchers from several institutions in the U.S. has found that smartwatches could provide a valuable resource in helping to track the progression of Parkinsons disease in patients.
In the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, an Apple Watch designed to remotely monitor fluctuations of resting tremor and dyskinesia in persons with Parkinson disease was shown to match in-clinic evaluations of these symptoms and capture symptom changes in response to treatment for 94% of participants.
Conducted by researchers at Apple, the study examined the efficacy of a new system called the Motor Fluctuations Monitor for Parkinson Disease that uses the Apple Watchs accelerometer and gyroscope data to continuously track changes in resting, tremor and dyskinesia.
In addition to the pilot study, researchers conducted a longitudinal study of 225 people with PD who were evaluated for up to 6 months. Participants measurement data were utilized to create symptom profiles that were then evaluated by the movement disorder specialists to see if the MM4PD system could identify symptom response to treatment changes and whether the system could be used as a decision support tool.
The full study can be read here
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Breathe2relax: Stress Management Tool
Listed in the NHS app library, Breathe2Relax is available for Android and iOS.
The app includes exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises can decrease the bodys fight-or-flight response and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.
A New & Improved App To Help Track Your Symptoms
Each persons Parkinsons disease symptoms are different. The more you and your care team know, the more personalized your care can be. The APDA Symptom Tracker app helps you. Now also available in Spanish!
Keep track of your symptoms including tremors, rigidity, balance and more.
Create your report, share with your care team, or save to your library.
Consult with your doctor for more personalized resources and support.
See the difference the new APDA Symptom Tracker can make.Download it on your mobile device today.
Support for this app provided by
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Apples New Researchkit Api Monitors Parkinsons Disease Symptoms On Apple Watch
Apple is adding a new Movement Disorder API to its open-source ResearchKit framework that will allow Apple Watch to continuously monitor Parkinsons disease symptoms.
The new API will provide app developers using ResearchKit the ability to offer passive, all-day monitoring via an Apple Watch running watchOS 5. To achieve this the API will monitor two very common symptoms of Parkinsons including Tremors, indicated by shaking and quivering detected by the Apple Watch, and Dyskinesia, a side-effect of treatments for Parkinsons that causes fidgeting and swaying motions in patients.
Currently a physician would ask a patient while at a clinic to perform physical diagnostics tests to rate the severity of these symptoms. Patients are also encouraged to manually keep diaries when not at the clinic in order to give their physician a broader look at symptoms over time. The goal is to make that process automatic and continuous with the Movement Disorder API for Apple Watch users.
Apps would then be able to present the data for patients and physicians in a graph to see not only daily breakdowns but also hourly and by the minute fluctuations of symptoms .
Apple noted that it designed and piloted the new API using data collected from Parkinsons patients in internal clinical studies.
Study Apple Watch Can Track Parkinson Disease Symptoms
Research published in Science Translational Medicine showed that an Apple Watch can remotely monitor changes in motor symptoms such as resting tremor and dyskinesia in people with Parkinsons disease. The findings are worth noting because of the potential positive impact for the 60,000 people diagnosed with Parkinsons disease each year in the United States.
The Apple Watch study showed a snapshot of how Parkinsons disease behaves over time. As an advocate for using technology to diagnose, monitor and treat medical conditions, I believe the study is a testament to how we can use devices to improve management of patients with Parkinsons disease the second most common neurodegenerative disorder by monitoring their symptoms in real time and adjusting treatments.
The research, conducted by Apple, studied the efficacy of a new system called the Motor Fluctuations Monitor for Parkinsons Disease . Using Apple Watchs accelerometer and gyroscope to measure motor activity, MM4PD tracks symptom changes by an algorithm developed with data from a pilot study of 118 participants with Parkinsons disease. Movement disorder specialists then analyzed video recordings of study participants that were matched with their time-aligned smartwatch data and scored using the Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale .
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Can I Use The Apple Watch To Track Parkinsons Symptoms
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Parkinsons disease can follow a different course for each person, so its important to take note of what symptoms are occurring when, and how they are progressing, if at all. If medication isnt working as well as it once was, and you either need a higher dose or perhaps a switch of treatments, it can be helpful to keep track of symptoms throughout the day and over time.
There are approximately one million people in America living with PD, and each year about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the condition. Worldwide, there are more than 10 million people living with Parkinsons disease. This means there are a lot of individuals under the care of a doctor, and ways to help streamline care help benefit both patient and provider.1
Apps For People Living With Parkinson’s
Parkinsons disease or Parkinsons is a long-term neurological condition. It causes problems in the brain that worsen over time.
In the UK, around 145,000 people are living with Parkinsons. Symptoms of Parkinsons develop slowly over the years and vary from person to person. However, people living with the condition typically experience:
- Tremor, the involuntary shaking of parts of the body
- Slow movement
- Stiff and inflexible muscles
People living with Parkinsons may also experience depression and anxiety, problems with balance, a loss of smell, insomnia, and memory problems. Apps can help support you in managing some of the symptoms of Parkinsons. We listed some examples below.
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Helpful Tech For Parkinsons In Your Smartphone
Most smartphones include accessibility features, which can help you use them with a range of impairments – and many are helpful for people living with Parkinsons.
For example, using your voice may be helpful for people experiencing tremors. Android phones include a text-to-speech feature so you can dictate using your voice. Android phones also have Google Assistant, which you can activate by saying Hey Google.
Using the assistant, youre able to perform many tasks, including sending a text, answering messages, turning on the battery saver, and more.
Similarly, an iPhone comes with many accessibility features. For example, you can say Hey Siri to access the voice assistant. Once activated, you can, for example, say open Safari to launch a web browser or ask, whats the time.
Apple Reveals A Possible Future Health App For Apple Watch And An Mr Headset To Assist Those With Parkinson’s Disease
The U.S. Patent Office published a patent application from Apple relating to a possible new Apple Watch health app relating to managing chronic disease and helping patients better engage with clinicians. More specifically, the Apple Watch app will assist those with Dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease. One of the peripherals that Apple highlights that could be used with application is a Mixed Reality Headset.
Apple notes that Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine . There are an estimated 600,000 to 1 million cases of PD in the United States and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Symptoms of PD include depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, bradykinesia, rigidity, balance gait deficits, speech deficits, tremor and dyskinesia. The most common form of tremor is resting tremor. Resting tremor is an unintentional movement that affects a limb when it is at rest and stops for the duration of a voluntary movement.
Dyskinesia is an uncontrollable and involuntary movement that can resemble twitching, fidgeting, swaying or bobbing. Dyskinesia tends to occur when other PD symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia, are well controlled.
In addition to the patient’s self-reported symptoms, clinicians use a gold standard scale called the Movement Disorders Society–Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale .
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Apple Watch Can Help Track Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Research Shows
Researchers at Apple, working with specialists who treat Parkinsons, designed a system that uses the Apple Watch to detect the motor symptoms that are a hallmark of the neurological disease. Dr. Michael Okun, National Medical Advisor at the Parkinsons Foundation is quoted and Parkinson.org is linked.
Better Measures Are Out There Will You Help Us Find Them
Currently, most clinical trials for Parkinsons disease use outcome measures that are subjective, and performed infrequently in the clinic. To help find new treatments faster, we need to develop more sensitive, frequent, and objective measures of disease.
The WATCH-PD study compares clinical assessments with new digital measures including an Apple Watch, an iPhone, and a full-body sensor system.
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease within the last two years, and youre not taking any Parkinsons medications, you may qualify.
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How Can An Apple Watch Help Manage Parkinson’s Symptoms
In late 2018, Apple expects to launch a software update that will include an app that will be able to differentiate between random or functional movement and tremors or dyskinesia of Parkinsons.3 The tremors associated with PD usually occur during periods of rest and is a slow, rhythmic tremor. It starts off on one side and eventually moves to both sides it can also affect the head, mouth, jaw, and tongue. Dyskinesia in PD doesnt affect everyone, and when it does occur, can vary greatly. Dyskinesia is an abnormal, uncontrolled, involuntary movement.4 It can occur in one limb or part of the body, or all over the body. Stress or emotions can make dyskinesia worse, and it often occurs when tremors and other PD symptoms are under control.4 Sometimes medications can cause dyskinesia, as well.
Of course, using the Apple Watch would bring up questions about whether doctors would be trained in using the app and reading the data and patient access to the Watch. Apple Watches are expensive and arent accessible to everyone. Theres talk about Apple pairing with some insurance companies to help subsidize the cost, but thats not finalized yet.
The watch software is supposed to be available later in 2018, so its worth keeping an eye out for it. If you think it might be helpful, talk with your doctor about whether theyve heard anything about it, and if they think it would benefit you.
Apple Watch Tracks Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms Medication Adherence
Apple researchers worked with 15 scientists to design a system within the Apple Watch that tracks Parkinson’s disease symptoms, according to research published Feb. 3 in Science Translational Medicine, which is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The system, called Motor fluctuations Monitor for Parkinsons Disease, uses the Apple Watchs accelerometer and gyroscope data to track users’ resting tremors or dyskinesia. It was created using data from a 118-person pilot study in which patients’ Apple Watch data was compared to a scoring system called MDS-UPDRS Part III, the gold standard used by Parkinson’s specialists to measure symptoms.
The measurements helped flag symptoms that often go undetected by traditional monitoring methods, as well as flagged critical symptom changes in patients who had surgery for deep brain stimulation.
The system also helped identify patients who were not adhering to their medication regimens and detected patients whose symptoms may improve with a modified medication regimen.
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Apple Watch To Help Parkinson’s Treatment And Trials
Apple has added a new API to its ResearchKit framework that will allow apps to monitor Watch users for signs of Parkinson’s.
“This is one of the promising developments in wearable tech that could revolutionise our understanding of Parkinson’s.
“By tracking a persons movements throughout the day, researchers and medical professionals will be able to get a much more comprehensive picture of a person’s condition than the snapshots currently gained through clinical assessments or occasional check-ups.
“This understanding could improve professionals tracking of peoples reactions to treatments, both in prescription and trial phases, ultimately helping to lead to better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s.”