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Transforming Parkinson’s Management: Innovations in Mobility and Neuro Measurement

Transforming Parkinson’s Management: Innovations in Mobility and Neuro Measurement
Photo: GGBA Swiss. https://ggba.swiss/fr/machinemd-et-gaitq-recoivent-une-bourse-pour-la-recherche-sur-la-maladie-de-parkinson/

The gaitQ and machineMD partnership, backed by a million-dollar grant, seeks to transform Parkinson’s management with innovative technology. 

Oxford-based medical technology start-up gaitQ and Swiss medical device company machineMD have secured a million-dollar research grant aimed at revolutionizing the understanding and management of Parkinson’s disease. This joint effort, funded by InnovateUK and Innosuisse, underscores the global urgency to address the complexities of Parkinson’s, a condition affecting over 10 million individuals worldwide, with projections indicating a doubling of this number by 2030. With an acute awareness of the varied progression of Parkinson’s among individuals, the partnership seeks to leverage cutting-edge technology to map digital biomarkers in movement, unlocking insights crucial for early detection and personalized treatment strategies.

The core of this initiative lies in an ambitious 18-month research project that will harness the power of data collected from 100 individuals living with Parkinson’s in both the UK and Switzerland. Through continuous monitoring of daily movements, researchers aim to identify pivotal moments in the progression of the disease, shedding light on the underlying factors and mechanisms driving its development. This endeavor holds promise for enhancing diagnostic accuracy and offers the potential to empower clinicians and specialists with actionable insights for more tailored and effective treatment approaches.

Dr. Tristan Collins, CEO of gaitQ, emphasizes the significance of understanding the nuances of Parkinson’s progression, recognizing its profound impact on individuals’ lives. By pinpointing critical markers in the disease trajectory, the research endeavor aspires to pave the way for more personalized interventions, fostering greater independence and efficacy in managing Parkinson’s symptoms. Dr. Ana Coito, Neuroscientist at machineMD, echoes this sentiment, highlighting the pressing need for early and precise diagnosis, particularly in light of the challenges posed by late-stage treatment initiation. Dr Ana Coito, Neuroscientist at machineMD, explains: 

“People with Parkinson’s may remain asymptomatic from motor symptoms until 50-60% of the dopaminergic neurons have been lost and treatment is only initiated in the late disease phase. Early and accurate diagnosis as well as accurate disease progression monitoring, are still important challenges. Abnormal oculomotor function has been reported in 75-87.5% of Parkinson’s patients.”

Through the identification of digital biomarkers, this partnership endeavors to redefine the landscape of Parkinson’s management, offering hope for improved outcomes and quality of life for those affected by the condition.

gaitQ tempo. Courtesy of gaitQ.

gaitQ tempo™: A Patient-Centric Solution for Parkinson’s Disease

At the forefront of gaitQ’s mission lies the gaitQ tempo™, a pioneering wearable device meticulously engineered to address the mobility challenges faced by individuals living with Parkinson’s disease. Developed by a team of world-class experts in engineering and physiology from the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Physiology Anatomy & Genetics, including Dr. Dongli Li, Dr. James Cantley, and Dr. André Hallack, the gaitQ tempo™ represents a fusion of cutting-edge innovation and patient-centric design philosophy.

Central to the functionality of the gaitQ tempo™ is its discreet vibrational cueing system, which offers subtle prompts to facilitate a smoother and more stable gait. Worn on the lower legs, the device delivers non-invasive cues directly to the user, leveraging the intuitive location for gait cueing. This innovative approach has been clinically validated to mitigate freezing of gait (FoG), a common motor symptom of Parkinson’s, thereby reducing the risk of falls and enhancing overall mobility.

Embodying the ethos of patient-led innovation, gaitQ meticulously crafted the gaitQ tempo™ through extensive consultation with individuals living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, and clinicians. With insights gleaned from over 200 conversations, the team ensured that the device not only meets but exceeds the needs of its target demographic. As emphasized by Dr. André Hallack, Co-Founder of gaitQ®, the design process was guided by a deep understanding of the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s, translating their feedback into a technology-driven solution aimed at enhancing their quality of life. With endorsement from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), gaitQ stands poised to revolutionize mobility assistance for individuals with Parkinson’s, offering a beacon of hope and empowerment in their journey towards improved mobility and independence.

machineMD’s Breakthrough Approach to Neurological Measurement

Based in Switzerland, machineMD is revolutionizing the measurement of brain function through cutting-edge technology. Leveraging a combination of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, machineMD empowers neurologists and ophthalmologists with reliable measurement data, ushering in a new era of precision diagnostics and monitoring. Situated within the MedTech Hub of the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine (SITEM) near the University Hospital of Bern, Inselspital, machineMD spearheads advancements at the intersection of medical science and technology.

FIND other virtual/augmented reality devices on MedicalExpo

At the heart of machineMD‘s mission lies a profound understanding of the significance of neuro-ophthalmology in unraveling the mysteries of brain function. By analyzing intricate eye and pupil movements, machineMD unveils sensitive biomarkers crucial for the diagnosis and monitoring of neurological disorders. From Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease to Alzheimer’s disease and rare conditions such as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Niemann-Pick Type C, the precise measurement of these biomarkers holds immense potential in enhancing clinical outcomes and patient care.

The complexity of eye movements and pupillary function underscores their role as invaluable indicators of neurological health. With involvement from multiple brain areas including the cerebellum, brainstem, cerebral cortex, and the basal ganglia, oculomotor function serves as a window into a myriad of inflammatory, neurodegenerative, and rare diseases. As visual processing and oculomotor control encompass vast regions of the brain, machineMD’s innovative approach not only facilitates early detection but also sheds light on the underlying mechanisms of central nervous system disorders, offering hope for more targeted interventions and improved patient outcomes.

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