The goal of the healthcare system is to detect diseases before symptoms appear. This is at least one of the objectives. After all, if someone knows they are going to get a certain disease, they may be able to mentally and physically prepare for it and possibly take medicine to prevent it. According to the BBC, there is a disease that a smartwatch, like the Apple Watch, may be able to detect up to seven years before the first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear.
This is Parkinson’s disease, which slowly damages the brain causing involuntary tremors, slow movements, stiff and inflexible muscles, spasticity, abnormal gait, etc. When the diagnosis is made, the brain cells of the patients are already too damaged.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, the team Dementia Research Institute from Cardiff University analyzed data from 103,712 carriers of smart watches. By tracking how fast each individual could move over the course of a week between 2013 and 2016, the team was able to determine who was at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Dr Cynthia Sandor, leader of the study, said that given that 30% of Britons wear a smartwatch, the device could help develop a cheaper and more accurate way of detecting Parkinson’s disease at a early stage.
“ We have shown here that a single week of captured data can predict events up to seven years in advance. With these results, we could develop a valuable screening tool to help in the early detection of Parkinson’s disease. This has implications both for research, by improving recruitment into clinical trials, and for clinical practice, by enabling patients to access treatments at an earlier stage, in the future, when these treatments are available “.Dr Sandor
Dr Kathryn Peall, who was also involved in the study, told the BBC that the use of smart watches Not only does it accurately predict who will get Parkinson’s disease, it can also help determine if a person’s symptoms are due to the disease or the frailty common to older people.
“Results for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease were different.Dr. Peall
A promising study
The doctor also said: We’ve compared our model to a number of different disorders, including other types of neurodegenerative disorders, people with osteoarthritis, and other movement disorders, among others, which is an advantage of being able to work with a set data such as the British biobank“. The biobank is an extensive health database covering more than 500,000 people.
While technology can provide early warning to people with Parkinson’s disease, the question, says Dr. Peall, is whether to let them know years before symptoms appear. According to her, “it will always remain an individual and personal choice“.
It would seem that thesmart watchesequipped with motion tracking sensors are useful in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. The Apple Watch has already been known to save the lives of users with abnormal heart rhythms, blood clots, or even something unusual like HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema). But use thesmart watchesto see up to seven years into the future in order to inform someone with no symptoms that they are at risk of Parkinson’s disease is something out of the ordinary today, but not maybe more so in the future.
It is hoped that smartwatches will be used to help people avoid serious life-changing illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease.