Apple Watch can assist with tracking Parkinson’s disease symptoms according to a breakthrough new study

apple watch on a table

A new study published recently in the American Association for the Advancement of Science shows how the Apple Watch can help with passive tracking of Parkinson’s disease.

They concluded that the Apple Watch could be useful for remote monitoring and continuous monitoring of motor activity and physiologic metrics.

Powers et al. and researchers at Apple developed a smartwatch-based ambulatory monitoring system to track dyskinesia and resting tremors in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Smartwatch-detected tremor and dyskinesia matched clinician-reported evaluations seen during in-clinic visits.

According to the study, the smartwatch-based system could identify changes in symptoms resulting from better adherence to medication or deep brain stimulation treatment, as well as subclinical symptoms, suggesting a need for alternative treatment or medication titration.

This study demonstrates the potential utility of smartwatch-based remote monitoring for Parkinson’s disease.Apple Research team for Parkinsons disease

Researchers at Apple, working with specialists who treat Parkinson’s, designed a system that uses the Apple Watch to detect the motor symptoms that are a hallmark of the neurological disease.

The new system, called the Motor Fluctuations Monitor for Parkinson’s disease (MM4PD), uses the Apple Watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope data to detect the presence of resting tremor or dyskinesia.

Resting tremors, which can affect the hands, legs, and other parts of the body, are a common symptom of Parkinson’s.

By monitoring resting tremors and other involuntary movements, the researchers were able to identify the characteristic “on” and “off” patterns of medication’s effects.

Their findings were published today in Science Translational Medicine.

This is a huge accomplishment by the Apple researchers and comes when the company just announced a collaboration with Biogen to study digital biomarkers for cognitive health.

Rune Labs, CEO, and Founder Brian Pepin said that his company is already using this toolkit to do more research work.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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