While the recent announcement of the soon-to-be-launched Apple Watch garnered much media attention, the technology company also has good news for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. A new app developed for the iPhone allows Parkinson’s patients to not only track their symptoms in real time, but also gives them the ability to share that data with researchers.
The app, Parkinson mPower (Mobile Parkinson Observatory for Worldwide, Evidenced-based Research), was developed by Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit research organization based in Seattle. University of Rochester (New York) neurologists Ray Dorsey, MD, MBA, Mark Kieburtz, MD, MPH, and Max Little, PhD, of Ashton University, United Kingdom, also worked on the development.
The app measures dexterity, balance and gait, voice, and memory multiple times each day. Dexterity is measured by tracking how fast a person can tap the screen on their iPhone. Also, the smartphone’s GPS and accelerometer can measure mobility and balance.
The app will be used as part of an observational study that collects data from patients. The information collected will allow researchers learn about the variations in Parkinson’s disease and enable patients to measure how their symptoms change over time and in response to exercise and medication.
“We know that Parkinson's disease symptoms fluctuate over the course of a day, or a week, but that has never been measured objectively,” Dorsey said in a statement. “The mPower study will enable us to learn from patients, and we'll be able to give information back to patients so they can manage their conditions regardless of distance or disability.”
A new iPhone mobile app which allows patients with Parkinson’s disease to track their symptoms in real time and share this information with researchers was featured by Apple executives today during the company’s semi-annual product launch event.
The app, dubbed Parkinson mPower (Mobile Parkinson Observatory for Worldwide, Evidenced-based Research), was developed by Sage Bionetworks, non-profit research organization based in Seattle, in partnership with Dorsey and Karl Kieburtz, MD, MPH from the University of Rochester, and Max Little, PhD, a mathematician and lecturer at Aston University in the United Kingdom. mPower is available to download immediately at the Apple App Store.