Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, affects a million people in the US and is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Impairments to gait are the most common and are identified as the most impactful to a person with MS’s quality of life. 75% of people with MS display clinically significant impairments.
Celestra Health Systems, based out of Canada, is employing a novel wearable solution to help with the detection of changes in the gait mechanics of people affected by MS.
The firm’s smart insole wearable can assist with monitoring MS patients’ conditions on a day-to-day basis. Objective walking information can be provided to clinicians to track the personalized progression of the disease to enable a more targeted treatment plan. A subset of this data is also shared with the patients via their smartphone app to keep them informed and motivated.
Several times per week, smart insoles in the patient’s shoes will collect data from the embedded sensors (pressure sensors, accelerometer, gyroscope).
The wearable smart insoles are fitted into a pair of the patient’s “everyday use” shoes and are very similar to the type of “comfort” insoles available from a local pharmacy.
The smart insole data will be used to create AI-based personalized models that compute each individual’s walking signature; this includes tracking subtle changes over time (improvement, deterioration) as well as identifying specific gait phenotypes.
The company announced a new study in partnership with the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital.
Incorporating gait mechanics and associated mobility metrics from wearables into various care settings will become very important as the aging population grows. This is one of the reasons why smartwatch companies, including Apple, have been focused on this area.
Apple provides iPhone and Apple Watch users with mobility metrics and features that can help with doing a six-minute walking test.
In fact, the company’s work on mobility assessments powered an FDA-approved app like Parky, which is a very helpful tool in assisting patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Innovations centered around mobility are going to be pivotal in the coming years. This is one area where we look forward to writing about novel products and features.