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Parkinson's research initiative to use analytics, wearables

August 18, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF), a New York-based nonprofit, and Intel, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based tech giant, have announced a technology-based collaboration to improve research and treatment for Parkison's disease.

The collaboration will include a research study that uses a big data analytics platform which detects patterns collected from wearable technologies used to monitor symptoms. The two organizations say that wearable technology and analytics can create a new paradigm for measurement of Parkinson's disease, which has been a struggle for researchers to monitor because of its variability. They anticipate using the wearable devices to tracks slowness of movement, tremor and sleep quality, which will track the disease’s progression and its relationship to molecular changes. This can create hundreds of readings per second from thousands of patients, they predict.

“Data science and wearable computing hold the potential to transform our ability to capture and objectively measure patients’ actual experience of disease, with unprecedented implications for Parkinson’s drug development, diagnosis and treatment,” Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of the MJFF, said in a statement.

Intel and MJFF already conducted one study to evaluate the accuracy of wearable devices for tracking agreed physiologic features earlier this year. Intel’s data scientists are now verifying the accuracy of those data. The two organizations also are planning to launch a mobile application that will allow patients to report medication intake as well as how they are feeling.

Read Michael J. Fox's comments on the death of Robin Williams.

Read more about the MJFF/Intel collaboration.