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New application for iPhone may support monitoring and research on Parkinson's disease
Date:6/23/2011

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a novel iPhone application that may enable persons with Parkinson's disease and certain other neurological conditions to use the ubiquitous devices to collect data on hand and arm tremors and relay the results to medical personnel.

The researchers believe the application could replace subjective tests now used to assess the severity of tremors, while potentially allowing more frequent patient monitoring without costly visits to medical facilities.

The program known as iTrem could be offered later this year by the App Store, an Apple Inc. website that sells iPhone applications. But iTrem will first undergo a clinical study at Emory University and must receive any required approvals from the Food and Drug Administration.

"We expect iTrem to be a very useful tool for patients and their caregivers," said Brian Parise, a research scientist who is principal investigator for the project along with Robert Delano, another GTRI research scientist. "And as a downloadable application, it also promises to be convenient and cost-effective."

iTrem utilizes the iPhone's built-in accelerometer to collect data on a patient in his or her home or office. The application directly tracks tremor information currently, and in the future will use simple puzzle games to record tremor data, which will then be processed and transmitted.

The researchers expect the clinical trial to show that data gathered by the program would allow physicians to remotely monitor the degree of disability, progression and medication response among patients with tremor-related conditions. In addition, iTrem offers a social component that allows people to share stories, pictures and data.

iTrem's developers are working with the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to form a startup company based on iTrem and future applications that might take advantage of iPhone
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Contact: John Toon
jtoon@gatech.edu
404-894-6986
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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