Intel and Michael J. Fox Foundation to tackle Parkinson’s with big data and wearable tech

Intel and The Michael J. Fox Foundation aim to improve Parkinson's research and treatment

Intel has teamed up with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to use big data and wearable technology to improve research and treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

The organisations announced that the collaboration will consist of a multi-phase research study using a big data analytics platform that detects patterns in data collected from patients via wearables, used to monitor symptoms.

Intel said this will aid researchers and physicians measuring progression of the disease by capturing and objectively measuring patients’ actual experiences. This could help the progress of breakthroughs in drug development, diagnosis and treatment.

Chief executive of The Michael J. Fox Foundation Todd Sherer said the major problem in diagnosing and treating patients is that treatment of the disease is still undertaken in the same way since it was first uncovered in 1817.

As such by using new approaches that take advantage of wearables and big data, there is the chance to improve care and research into the disease.

“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,” he said.

Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, added that the potential of big data and wearables in the medical arena was huge.

“Emerging technologies can not only create a new paradigm for measurement of Parkinson’s, but as more data is made available to the medical community, it may also point to currently unidentified features of the disease that could lead to new areas of research,” she said.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Intel have already carried out studies using these technologies on Parkinson’s sufferers, gathering data from 16 people and nine control volunteers over a four-day period.

Bret Parker, 46, from New York, was one of those who took part in the tests and he said the use of wearables was a definite improvement on his usual requirements.

“I know that many doctors tell their patients to keep a log to track their Parkinson’s. I am not a compliant patient on that front. I pay attention to my Parkinson’s, but it’s not everything I am all the time,” he said.

“The wearables did that monitoring for me in a way I didn’t even notice, and the study allowed me to take an active role in the process for developing a cure.”

Plans for a mobile application are also in the works for the end of the year, so those with Parkinson’s can report their medication intake and how they are feeling to continue to enhance the information used to tackle the disease.

For more on big data, visit the Intel IT Center.

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15 August 2014 | 9:55 am – Source: v3.co.uk

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