Apple says new CareKit platform will ‘empower’ Parkinson’s patients
Author: Geoffrey ChangPublished: 24 March 2016
Prep: Cook: Serves:
People with Parkinson’s will be among the first to experience the benefits of Apple’s new open-source health-tracking platform, which will ‘empower’ patients – and could transform the way we think about health
Apple has revealed a new health-tracking software platform at its ‘Loop You In’ product launch event. CareKit is a software framework designed for apps that let people with Parkinson’s and other chronic diseases better understand and manage their condition.
With the introduction of the platform, Apple aims to put patients back in charge of tracking symptoms and medications with the use of a smartphone.
Though CareKit won’t be fully available until next month, one of the apps to have first access to the platform is for people with Parkinson’s, and will monitor the effectiveness of medication used to treat the condition.
Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Apple, said: “We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful. Apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”
After the success of ResearchKit, the study-focused platform that enabled medical researchers to gather highly individualised data on a large-scale, Apple decided to widen the scope from medical research to personal care with the development of CareKit.
Developed by Sage Bionetworks and the University of Rochester, the first app built for ResearchKit was mPower, which claims to be responsible for the biggest Parkinson’s study to date.
Dr Stephen Friend, president of Sage Bionetworks, said: “mPower allows researchers to follow day-to-day fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease symptoms and allows for insights that would be impossible to achieve when a patient is only being examined every six months.
“This kind of data has never been tracked and captured before, and now with the help of CareKit, we can provide quantitative insights to inform the dialogue a person has with a health professional about his or her own disease.”
CareKit will be available in April. For more information click here
How CareKit could benefit people with Parkinson’s
Apps built for CareKit will be able to utilise specialised ‘modules’ such as the so-called ‘Care Card’, ‘Insight Dashboard’, ‘Symptoms and Measurement tracker’ and ‘Connect’.
Here’s how the modules could work with Parkinson’s apps:
‘Care Card’ keeps tabs on your medication or physical therapy needs, essentially creating interactive to-do lists that remind you when to take your medicine.
‘Insight Dashboard’ maps progress over time and can reveal which treatments are actually working in relation to symptom fluctuation.
‘Symptoms and Measurement tracker’takes advantage of the iPhone’s high-tech sensory capabilities such as accelerometers, microphones, gyroscopes, cameras and GPS. For example, the phone’s microphone can record and analyse the subtle changes in the voice of Parkinson’s patients, or the gyroscope and accelerometers can sense a range of motions like fluctuations in gait.
‘Connect’ allows all this information to be shared with doctors, healthcare teams and family members.
Why I set up a Parkinson’s support group that’s just for women
Women-only group openly talks about sexuality & other issues
3 days ago
Study finds just six minutes of daily exercise might delay onset of Parkinson’s disease
Regular exercise is a common therapeutic strategy for people with Parkinson’s. Now, a study from New Zealand has suggested that daily physical activity might even delay the onset of this condition. Published in ‘The Physiological Society’, the study focused on a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – which has previously been shown to boost cognitive performance. The researchers assessed the impact of fasting and physical activity on BDNF production in 12 people aged 18 to 56. The tests involved fasting and completing exercises of varying intensity, such as cycling for six minutes, as well as combinations of both fasting and physical activity. The results showed that brief, intense exercise was the best option for increasing the production of BDNF – with the protein increasing by a factor of four to five times compared to light exercise or fasting. Because BDNF can protect the brain from cognitive decline, the findings could…
Machine learning may help predict risk of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease
Difficulty taking steps forward, often referred to as the freezing of gait (FOG), is a common symptom experienced by people with Parkinson’s and one that can be difficult to predict. China-based researchers suggest that machine learning – artificial intelligence (AI) that uses algorithms to analyse data – could help predict the risk of freezing of gait developing in the early stages of the condition. Their study, published in ‘npj Parkinson’s Disease’, gave laboratory and clinical data to a machine learning model brain. This information was collected from 158 adults with untreated early-stage Parkinson’s and 73 healthy adults over a five-year period. They found that the risk of FOG could be predicted with an accuracy rate of up to 78%. The study authors suggested that machine learning methods “have the potential to help predict future FOG in patients with early Parkinson’s at an individual level”.
Long-term exposure to air pollution could impact Parkinson’s disease mortality risk
New research has suggested that long-term exposure to air pollutants could increase the risk of death from Parkinson’s. A team of European researchers conducted the study, published in the journal ‘Environment International’, as part of the Effects of Low-Level Air Pollution: A Study in Europe (ELAPSE) project – a Europe-wide initiative looking at the effects of low air pollution levels on people’s health. The researchers used ELAPSE’s datasets to analyse figures for over 200,000 adults from six European countries. They also looked at air pollution models, estimating the concentrations of air pollutants in these countries to explore the link between pollution exposure and deaths from Parkinson’s. The results suggest that long-term exposure to PM2.5 particles at high levels was associated with a 25% higher risk of death from the condition, and the authors of the study added that the research “adds strong evidence in support of an association between air…