Advances in neuroscience are leading to various devices that compensate for motor losses or reduce the impact of neurological diseases.
A recently launched program in Spain supports a handful of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. And it is a trio of technological device which is currently in the testing phase: a box equipped with various sensors, a headset and a smartphone.
The European REMPARK research project aims to give autonomy to people suffering from Parkinson's disease. To do this, patients constantly wear a motion sensor, which detects the amplitude and anomalies in the user's movements. When an abnormality is identified, an acoustic stimulus is automatically sent to an atrium to target the center of balance of the inner ear.
In the trio, the smartphone records the data, creates statistics and communicates the information directly to the doctors in charge of monitoring the program. The objective is to adapt the patient's drug response and treatment more quickly according to their state of health, which is almost communicated in real time.
Angels Bayés, of the Teknon Medical Center in Spain indicates "This device allows us to know how many hours a day the patient's mobility is ON, that is to say operational and OFF, that is to say reduced and how it moves during these 2 phases We also know whether or not the patient has blockages and how long they last. We can also determine how quickly the patient is walking. And when the system detects a motor problem, it automatically activates a sound stimulus to help the patient to walk more easily. "
The case worn by the patient integrates several sensors, including an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscope, which allows him to record the slightest movements of the user.
The first feedback from patients is encouraging since they would all have recovered some autonomy. However, the system remains perfectible: "Most patients would like the sensor to be smaller. They also regret that there is an interval of one minute between when the sensor detects a problem and the triggering of the sound signal. Regarding it, they would also prefer to hear music rather than the sound of a metronome. "
The researchers are already working on the next stage of the project: "The next step is to transform the device into a real medical device. A device capable of helping the doctor to make a more precise diagnosis and capable, ultimately, of regulating the treatment of patients in order to improve their state of health But, as the regulations on medical devices are very strict in Europe, this project still requires a lot of work "