I have written other posts on wearables that would be appropriate for dementia care, family carers, and useful for research. So when I came across this post on MedCity News, I was excited to share it. It seems that a lot of the wearables, while they certainly have a focus on health, don’t focus on people with dementia. And, while this article doesn’t focus on dementia, either, I think that the technology under development addresses neurological disorders, which can lead to a further understanding of how wearables can support life with dementia.
Wearables help manage neurological disorders, predict symptoms
Historically, patients with epilepsy have kept track of seizures by handwritten logs. But new, wearable technology not only helps monitor symptoms automatically, it may be able to predict serious events such as seizures and disease progression in patients with several kinds of neurological disorders.
An article appearing in the August/September issue of the journal Neurology Now highlights some wearables that show promise for treating people with epilepsy,Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis because the technology can collect data anywhere and anytime, not just in a clinical environment. (Bonus points to the headline writer for the Elvis Costello reference; the article is titled, “Wearing the Detectives.”)
“With this more precise information, we can often spot problems even before a patient is aware of them,” Dr. Joseph I. Sirven, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a member of the Neurology Now editorial advisory board, is quoted as saying.
For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is testing a watch that may be able to predict epileptic seizures by measuring skin moisture.
At Cleveland Clinic, researchers have strapped iPads to the back of people with MS to measure walking speed, balance and manual dexterity, the journal reported. Biotech firm Biogen has teamed with Google X to try to glean MS-related data from Fitbits, though “the bands are still not sophisticated or sensitive enough to provide consistently accurate data,” according to the article.
For Parkinson’s patients, the article discussed Parkinson mPower, an app linked to Apple’s Research Kit. MedCity News reported on this less than two months ago.
While none of these systems have completed the FDA approval process, Neurology Now also listed a few that have earned or are close to earning regulatory clearance.