|Courtesy of University Polytechnic of Catalonia|
Portuguese researchers are developing and testing a smart, portable system to manage Parkinson's disease in real time.
The so-called Rempark system has been tested on more than 50 volunteers from Spain, Italy, Ireland and Israel, reports Medical Xpress. Unlike previous studies, these outpatients lived at home and used the device in real-world conditions.
The Rempark system consists of a wearable waist movement sensor to monitor the patient's gait, a headset, an automated medication pump and a smartphone to control the components, gather data and facilitate communication.
When the sensors detect an abnormal gait, auditory cues are sent to the patient via the headset that encourage her to walk to its rhythm, thereby regaining a normal stride and pace. In addition, the device can detect falls and automatically call for emergency assistance. And the medication pump can be remotely controlled and activated for automatic delivery of a rescue dose of prescribed medication, says Portugal's University Polytechnic of Catalonia, which developed the system. Finally, doctors can monitor the data in real time and use it to make adjustments to their patients' medications or treatment plan.
Results of the testing will be presented in April at a workshop in Madrid. The data will be used to create an upgraded version of the Rempark system.
University Polytechnic of Catalonia says the nearly 5-year-old project costs €4.73 million ($5.31 million), with the European Commission funding 70% of the expenses.