Intel and Michael J Fox Improve Parkinson’s Research with Wearable Gadgets

Michael J Fax and Intel partner on wearable devices to track Parkinson's patients
In another step into the market beyond computers, Intel has teamed up with the Michael J Fox Foundation to provide Parkinson’s researchers with a whole new level of access to their patients.

Their idea involves using wearables, devices like the Fit Bit or Pebbles smart watches which have built-in sensors to track and store patient symptoms. Until now researchers have relied on subjective reporting from patients who participate in clinical trials. The problem is a patients’ symptoms are likely to change from one minute to the next, so they are simply unable to supply accurate data for specific times of the day.

In partnership, the two organizations will fund research and develop an app that patients can use to record how they are feeling, and any medication they’ve taken. This is on top of the data being collected every minute from their wearable device.

Parkinsons researchers will now have a wealth of information about the condition. Coming from studies where they have handwritten diaries and subjective interview questions, this partnership will make over 300 data readings per second available for analysis from patients all over the country.

The International Business Times reports that Intel, “Has already conducted test runs of the plan with Pebble watches on small groups of patients as well as a control group. The wearable devices recorded the sleep patterns of patients, their gait and balance as well as the intensity of tremors over the course of four days. The information, Intel and the Fox Foundation expect, will lead to new insight on a disease that strikes 60,000 Americans every year.”

Michael J Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2000, told USA today that, “The answers are within us. We just need to find a way to let people into our brains both literally and figuratively to help us figure this out.”

The Taipei Times discusses Intel’s move beyond the computer market and into the health sector with their Big Data Solutions group General Manager, Ron Kasabian. He says Intel is always exploring. “As it expands beyond the PC arena, Intel hopes to capture a share of the growing market for big data analytics and wearable devices in the health sector. We are exploring how to pull data out of devices in real-time, [how to] mine data to improve research, and better understand the behaviours and progression of the disease.”

Intel expects to increase their involvement in other sectors with expansion into research and manufacturing of data collection devices in coming years.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Hudson)

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2 Responses to Intel and Michael J Fox Improve Parkinson’s Research with Wearable Gadgets

  1. mary says:

    I absolutely LOVE Michael J Fox. He’s an inspiration to all to keep fighting and make the best even in a bad situation.

  2. David says:

    This is actually really exciting news. There are a lot of applications where this could be used to get better real time information on patients’ conditions with a variety of diseases. The more options like this, the better for the patients and the doctors/researchers studying the disease.

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