Mobile app helps diagnose Parkinson’s
The app uses the phone’s sensory capabilities to evaluate a user’s patterns of movement, such as if walking is unstable or if a fall occurs.
“Most patients already carry a phone with them,” said Körding, a researcher who holds academic posts at both Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. “It’s known that you can detect disease based on movement.”
The unnamed app is still in beta, said Körding, noting commercialization is in the very early stages. The technology works by sending diagnostic data from the phone to a server, where it is analyzed.
“It’s very, very precise,” said Körding. “Making sense of the data at that moment means that we are able to find out exactly what people do. We know if they walk, if they stand, if they hold the phone.”
Eventually Körding hopes many people – including those with no current signs of disease – will have a copy of his movement app downloaded on their phone.
Beyond Parkinson’s disease, he sees the application’s uses ranging from orthopedics to sports medicine, even determining whether overweight patients are getting the recommended amount of daily exercise.
“Ultimately we’d like it to be predictive,” Körding said.