Parkinson’s wearable matches experts in clinical trial

Parkinson's Disease Monitor

A new clinical study has found that a wearable device developed by PD Neurotechnology was 95% accurate in detecting and assessing motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, when compared to assessment by clinical experts.

The PDMonitor system includes sensors worn on both wrists, both ankles, and around the waist, which record and analyse movement variables like activity, posture, and tremor using artificial intelligence. It includes a docking station for charging and managing data, and a mobile app diary for recording medications, diet, and symptoms.

The study – published in Frontiers in Neurology – compared the automated assessments using the system to the verdicts of doctors at three European hospitals based on intermittent clinical evaluations and symptom diaries.

A group of 65 patients with Parkinson’s and 28 healthy individuals were randomised initially to a two- to six-hour session with PDMonitor in a clinic, or assessments every half-hour by neurologists using two symptom rating scales.

That phase was used to gauge how closely the wearable conformed to the expert view, with specificity levels of 99% or more when detecting mild to severe dyskinesia, gait impairment, and wrist and leg tremor, and at least 96% when detecting ‘off’ periods when Parkinson’s symptoms re-emerge between medication doses.

A second stage of the trial involved usage of the device over a number of days, at home or in care facilities and unsupervised, to see how well patients handled the system.

According to the authors, that confirmed patients and caregivers were able to set it up within five minutes on average, even for patients at later stages of the disease and, with no need for the user to start a recording, there was a high rate of compliance with the protocol.

“PDMonitor is supporting an emerging paradigm shift in Parkinson’s care by moving from traditional short-lived, face-to-face consultations to be augmented by home monitoring, which has many advantages similar to monitoring in diabetes and cardiac disorders,” commented Professor K Ray Chaudhuri, a Parkinson’s specialist at King’s College Hospital, who has been piloting PDMonitor with private patients for more than a year.

“Monitoring patients at home, continuously while they conduct everyday activities, allows treatment decisions to be made more frequently and physicians to respond faster to changing symptoms,” he added.

That viewpoint is backed up by preliminary data from a study in 267 patients in Greece, which found that continuous telemonitoring with PDMonitor in clinical practice led to the alleviation of Parkinson’s symptoms, and reduced the average ‘off’ time experienced by patients.

PDMonitor was also one of five devices that were conditionally recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK for real-world monitoring of Parkinson’s patients.

NICE has asked the NHS to collect data on patients’ use of the devices, how they affect symptoms and health-related quality of life, and use of resources by patients and carers.