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Every Parkinson’s patient could soon be given a high-tech smart watch that allows doctors to remotely monitor their condition.
The £175 gadget has been designed by an Australian firm specifically to care for people with Parkinson’s.
It tells clinicians how often the user is moving and sleeping – two key indicators of possible complications from the degenerative brain disease.
If the patient is moving excessively and sleeping less, doctors may decide to change their medication, or offer other interventions such as physiotherapy, to stop the condition getting worse.
The device also buzzes to remind patients to take their daily course of medication.
The £175 gadget (above) has been designed by an Australian firm specifically to care for people with Parkinson’s
Two hundred patients at University Hospitals Plymouth Trust have been given the watch as part of a trial, and the scheme could soon be rolled out to the 140,000 Britons living with the incurable condition.
The move has been hailed by NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard, who says the technology dramatically improves patients’ quality of life.
The watch records information through sensors in the device, similar to those found in an Apple Watch. It is programmed to send data after six months directly to the doctor.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged.
Over time, patients will often begin to experience involuntary shaking, slow movement, and stiff and inflexible joints.
Doctors are still unsure what triggers it, and there is currently no cure, but patients can take drugs that reduce the main symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability
To ensure these medicines are working well, patients receive check-ups at hospital every six to 24 months where they are still required to fill out questionnaires detailing their symptoms.
The smart watch, known as a Parkinson’s KinetiGraph, will automatically create a report every six months based on the movement and sleeping patterns of the patient, which is then sent to their doctor.
One of the first to try the watch was John Whipps, 69. The retired biologist from Cornwall says the technology removes the stress of having to log his constantly changing symptoms.
He said: ‘It really gives you confidence as you know it gives accurate recordings, and you don’t need to rely so much on your own perception.’