Parkinson’s is a debilitating neurological disease that attacks the motor skills of patients, which can make it difficult for them to walk. A group of European researchers led by a team at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Spain have developed a mobile system to help with these problems. The REMPARK project is designed to help improve their quality of live of patients with the disease.
The system includes a device worn on the hip of the patient. This wireless system includes inertial motion sensors that gather information about the wearer’s walking gait. This data is analyzed to see if the patient is having difficulty walking. A study has shown that the system is very accurate in detecting when a patient is having difficulty walking. A wireless headset will produce a rhythmic sounds that have been shown to help patients resume a normal gait. The motion data is also stored by a smartphone app, where it can be forwarded to medical professionals for further analysis and study.
For now, the recorded information can be used to adjust the dosage of medications designed to help control the disease symptoms. The ultimate goal of the program is to create a closed loop system that will control an implanted drug pump that can adjust the administered dosage automatically in response to the walking data. The group is currently testing their system with 50 volunteer subjects in Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Israel. The wireless system allows the subjects to use it in their own homes, rather than have to be in a clinical setting.