Summary of talks

Time to change:
The role of digital technology in the future of PD healthcare.

Professor Lynn Rochester

Digital technology, including body worn sensors, has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, delivering assessment and treatment closer to home and in a more personalised manner. Moreover, the opportunity to capture outcomes that are relevant and meaningful is a clear advantage. Digital technology also provides a solution to ecologically relevant assessment – allowing continuous and remote evaluation. This talk will focus on key developments in the use of digital healthcare tools to measure and monitor Parkinson’s and highlight why this is important in driving therapeutic change. Evidence for the current state of the art will be presented along with a view to the future.

Rehabilitation technology to support mobility in Parkinsons

Andrew Kerr, PhD

Technology is increasingly being used to support the self-directed rehabilitation of people with neurological conditions like stroke and cerebral palsy. Typically they are designed to provide feedback on performance (e.g. balance and walking ability), encourage practice by using techniques borrowed from the world of video games and increase attention on performance to promote learning/relearning of movement skills. This talk will provide an overview of rehabilitation technology currently being used in stroke rehabilitation and discuss how they might be used for Parkinsons including some recent studies with virtual reality treadmills.

Model based treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

Ray Finucane

This talk describes an analytical approach designed to help people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) provide information to their doctors.  Specifically, the approach is designed to establish and adjust the daily dosage of IPX066 (Rytary), an extended release formulation of levodopa-carbidopa (LD-ER) prescribed to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s. 

The work evolved during development of PDWatch, an Apple iPhone application designed to track a patient’s intake of Parkinson’s medications, keep a database of reported symptoms, and forecast future need based on recent history.

PDWatch was created by a small team that produced a new idea for the treatment of Parkinson’s patients, based on a mathematical model of serum concentration that is used first for analysis, then for synthesis of a new prescription, the ultimate goal of the model. Analysis shows the impact of the drug upon symptoms; synthesis looks at the reverse. The model and data provide the patient and doctor with information to suggest a new prescription to produce a specified outcome.

The work provides insight into the enduring mystery that has hindered progress in Parkinson’s patient care, namely the relationship between serum concentration of dopaminergic drugs, Parkinson’s symptoms, and drug side effects. 

Democratising Healthcare Technologies:
Wearables for People living with Parkinson’s

Professor Kyle Montague

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming the healthcare landscape. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are helping researchers to discover more and more about diseases – leading to new breakthroughs in treatments and cures. 

In recent years we have seen a surge in the use of wearable technologies to track and monitor our physical activity and psychological measurements of daily life, giving healthcare professionals a greater understanding of patient symptoms and behaviours. 

With much of this innovation making its way into mainstream consumer devices, there is an opportunity for a new generation of self-management technologies that not only support interactions with healthcare professionals and researchers but enable individuals to take greater control of their health. The democratisation of healthcare technologies would not only allow an individual access to their health information, it seeks to provide the means by which they leverage that information to enrich and enhance their lives. 

Providing people living with Parkinson’s the know-how and resources to transform their ideas and desires into interventions and tools is key to enabling new breakthroughs. With that, we’ve been exploring the design and development of the AxLE-PD wearable device specifically for people living with Parkinson’s. AxLE-PD is a fully open and customisable technology to support symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as cueing for decreased automatic swallowing, while also providing research grade data collection. 

Together with the Parkinson’s community we want to develop AxLE-PD to create an entirely democratised infrastructure to transform the future of healthcare technologies.