Bringing together patients' perspectives on eHealth and mHealth

Parkinson’s Diseases – Patient Group Support App

Patient group supports Parkinson’s app

Researchers were quick to realise the potential of using Smartphone functionality to gain greater insights into the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. For example, it’s nearly three years since the launch of the mPower app which gathers data from Parkinson’s patients in real-time to aid understanding of the disease and how it impacts an individual’s daily life. Data collection is now also well under way through the iPrognosis app, launched nearly two years ago.

Early disease detection app

The recently-updated iPrognosis app collects data from both healthy volunteers and patients with Parkinson’s disease to develop tests for early detection of Parkinson’s disease. The study focuses on the early identification of specific symptoms. 

The aim is to use this real-life data to develop an optimised app and corresponding computer programs which can recognise changes in behaviour relating to motor and non-motor symptoms including sleep problems, pain, changes in mood, constipation and olfactory disturbances.

Monitoring day-to-day phone use

People who choose to take part select which parts of their day-to-day phone usage that the study can track. The app runs in the background to capture how the person uses and interacts with their smartphone during daily activities. 

The data captured in the background by the iPrognosis app can include:

  • Characteristics of the person’s voice when making a phone call
  • How steadily the person holds their phone during calls or typing
  • How well the person types
  • How far the person travels each day.

The app can also take into account:

  • Identified emotional content from text messages, without storing actual content
  • Facial expressions from stored photos, without copying the photos from the participants device. 

As this lifts the lid on how participants use their phone day-to-day, privacy is key. Resulting data is encrypted, and the participants’ name replaced with a coded identification. Essentially, the study is more focused on how the person uses their phone, than what the specific content is.

Patient group support 

As with any research study, patient group support is important for publicity and recruitment. AGE Platform Europe is a European network of non-profit organisations for people aged over 50. It prominently supports the study project, including pages inviting people to take part, and newsletter updates on the project.   

The app and study are supported by funds from the European Union Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. The study’s advisory board includes a leading US-based charity into innovation for Parkinson’s, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The study is currently expanding to Australia and plans to be open until October this year.

NEXT STEPS:

Find out more about the iPrognosis app and study at…

Click here

Review a range of apps recommended by patient organisations and charities at…

Click here

Find out more about the long-running app research study in the US, mPower (Mobile Parkinson Observatory for Worldwide Evidence-based Research) at…

Click here

Visit the patient organisation, Age Platform Europe at…

Click here

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2 thoughts on “Parkinson’s Diseases – Patient Group Support App”

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