We’ve grown accustomed to technology playing so many roles in our everyday lives. Did you realize that technology is also involved in the research and prevention of diseases?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes tremors in the arms and legs, as well as stiffness and slowing of basic movements. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation reports that the ailment affects between seven and ten million people around the world.
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but research is continuing. And that includes new technology. Sensors in the handles of high-tech eating utensils along with tools that will keep the food steady through periods of shakiness are some of the products that are available now.
Applications have been developed that can make Parkinson’s easier to manage. They provide information and ways to track symptoms of the patient’s everyday life that may be changing. We’ve listed five apps we believe might be helpful:
1.) Parkinson mPower
This free app helps to track a Parkinson’s patient’s condition on a 24/7 basis. According to Parkinsonslife.eu, the app measures the patient’s balance, gait, and tremors through an iPhone’s sensors. The app includes questionnaires and optional wearing devices. It also gathers data through the person’s walking, finger tapping and voice recording.
2.) Parkinson’s Central
Parkinson’s Central is another free application, offered by the National Parkinson’s Foundation. It helps those with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to get information any time they want it.
The app gives users nine categories about Parkinson’s disease to choose from, including About Parkinson’s and About the Foundation, Doctor Visits, Index, Living Well, Near Me, Research, Symptoms, and Treatments. It was designed to answer questions users may have or those that come up between visits to the neurologist.
3.) Lift Pulse
This free app measures a user’s hand tremors through the smartphone’s accelerometer. Lift Pulse uses a Fourier Transform, which breaks down motion through sines and cosines to show a user the magnitude of their tremor. The app monitors tremors from a preset baseline and calculates the motion of a tremor. Lift Pulse is mainly used for research purposes.
4.) Parkinson’s Toolkit
Parkinson’s Toolkit is also free and comes to us through the National Parkinson’s Foundation. It covers information for doctors, along with planning, symptoms, treatment and other clinical practice issues. The app is easy to navigate, and also has news for Parkinson’s patients and caregivers.
The GyroGlove, made by GyroGear, combines spinning discs or gyroscopes with the patient’s hand. Gyroscopes that self-calibrate stabilize hand tremors through physics, according to gyrogear.co. They are compared to spinning tops in their ability to resist force, immediately and proportionally. A circuit board in the glove records hand tremors and sends the information to an app.
Google has even gotten involved in researching long-term ailments. Google’s specialized health division, known as Verily, wants to research disease through technology and life sciences.
Part of the verily.com mission statement says, “Imagine a chemist and an engineer and a doctor and a behavioral scientist, all working together to truly understand health and to better prevent, detect, and manage the disease.”