Researchers develop a new home-based app to better monitor Parkinson's disease

November 12, 2019

Amsterdam, NL, November 12, 2019 - In order to optimally treat motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), it is necessary to have a good understanding of their severity and daily fluctuations. A report in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease describes how a new app, SleepFit, could be a useful tool in routine clinical practice to monitor motor symptoms and facilitate specific symptom-oriented follow-up. The researchers also determined that information obtained prospectively in real time from the user-friendly app can differ from data gathered retrospectively from patient interviews.

In routine practice, clinical examination and subjective reporting from the patient are the primary sources of objective data regarding motor symptoms. Realizing that recall may be inaccurate, especially in patients with PD who may experience subtle, "benign" cognitive dysfunction, researchers have developed the SleepFit app that enables patients to report their symptoms regularly several times a day from home or in their daily living.

"The importance of accurately assessing motor symptoms is pivotal in the clinical follow-up of patients with PD. In fact, physicians' therapeutic decisions rely on the subjective information provided by a patient just as much as on the physical examination. This is particularly important considering that antiparkinsonian medications need to be prescribed at their minimal effective doses to optimize mobility, while minimizing undesirable side effects," explained Pietro Luca Ratti, MD, PhD, researcher at the Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, Regional Hospital of Lugano, Switzerland, and now at the Clinical Neurophysiology Unit, Department of Neurology, Pierre Zobda-Quitman University Hospital, Fort-de-France, Martinique.

During classic office consultations, patients with PD are asked to recall the nature and severity of their symptoms since their last consultation and provide a rough average estimate of symptoms during an extended period of time. This can introduce the possibility of collecting inaccurate or incomplete information.

For that reason, the researchers developed the SleepFit app for tablets, which incorporates a new Visual Analogue Scale assessing global mobility (m-VAS) and the Scales for Outcome in Parkinson Assessment Diary Card (m-SCOPA-DC). In the clinical study in which SleepFit was first employed, patients were asked to use the app to record their symptoms four times a day for two weeks at specific times of the day. Each time, patients were asked to estimate their perceived momentary motor capability regarding involuntary movements, hand dexterity, walking, and changing position.

Forty-two patients completed the study. The researchers then compared the prospectively collected data from the app to retrospectively collected information from the patient interview, which included a well-accepted measure of mobility in PD, the Movement Disorders Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) parts II and IV.

They reported that for many patients there was good agreement between the mobility assessments gathered with the app and the MDS-UPDRS. However, there was a subgroup of PD patients who seemed not to report their motor symptoms accurately at the office consultation. For almost 43% of patients, a discrepancy was noted between the m-SCOPA-DC and the MDS-UDPDRS total score. Further analysis indicated that patients with higher disagreement were those who tended to have more advanced disease, higher fatigue, or worse sleep quality. Some patients (12%) over-estimated their motor symptoms and 5% underestimated their symptoms.

"We believe that a prospective approach would enable better clinical evaluation of patients' subjective symptoms and, thus, better clinical management of the patients themselves," said Dr. Ratti. "Although SleepFit is still under development, we believe it will eventually become a powerful tool to support patient evaluation in real-life conditions, encompassing motor and non-motor symptoms of PD."

PD is a slowly progressive disorder that affects movement, muscle control and balance. It is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder affecting about 3% of the population by the age of 65 and up to 5% of individuals over 85 years of age.

IOS Press

Related Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

CLCN6 identified as disease gene for a severe form of lysosomal neurodegenerative disease
A mutation in the CLCN6 gene is associated with a novel, particularly severe neurodegenerative disorder.

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

Potential link for Alzheimer's disease and common brain disease that mimics its symptoms
A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital uncovered a group of closely related genes that may capture molecular links between Alzheimer's disease and Limbic-predominant Age-related TDP-43 Encephalopathy, or LATE, a recently recognized common brain disorder that can mimic Alzheimer's symptoms.

Antioxidant agent may prevent chronic kidney disease and Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Osaka University developed a novel dietary silicon-based antioxidant agent with renoprotective and neuroprotective effects.

Tools used to study human disease reveal coral disease risk factors
In a study published in Scientific Reports, a team of international researchers led by University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa postdoctoral fellow Jamie Caldwell used a statistical technique typically employed in human epidemiology to determine the ecological risk factors affecting the prevalence of two coral diseases--growth anomalies, abnormalities like coral tumors, and white syndromes, infectious diseases similar to flesh eating bacteria.

Disease-aggravating mutation found in a mouse model of neonatal mitochondrial disease
The new mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variant drastically speeds up the disease progression in a mouse model of GRACILE syndrome.

Human longevity largest study of its kind shows early detection of disease & disease risks
Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) announced the publication of a ground-breaking study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

30-year study identifies need of disease-modifying therapies for maple syrup urine disease
A new study analyzes 30 years of patient data and details the clinical course of 184 individuals with genetically diverse forms of Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), which is among the most volatile and dangerous inherited metabolic disorders.

Long-dormant disease becomes most dominant foliar disease in New York onion crops
Until recently, Stemphylium leaf blight has been considered a minor foliar disease as it has not done much damage in New York since the early 1990s.

Read More: Disease News and Disease Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to