SENSE-PARK is a European funded initiative which aims to address the critical issue of accurate measurement of Parkinson’s through a series of technical devices designed to allow objective and precise analysis of the most important aspects of Parkinson’s as verified by those living with the condition themselves.
SENSE-PARK features the following important attributes which set it apart from other initiatives involved in this area:
- SENSE-PARK is a project which has been overseen by people with Parkinson’s every step of the way ensuring it is relevant, focused and practical
- SENSE-PARK also draws on the technical expertise of renowned Parkinson’s centres around Europe which should ensure that the devices used and the measurement criteria will continue to be scientifically validated safeguarding their wide scale use and application
- SENSE-PARK aims to evolve with advances in technology ensuring its longevity as the most up to date resource in accurate symptom assessment in Parkinson’s
Listening to the priorities of people with Parkinson’s
People living with Parkinson’s have shaped SENSE-PARK. Initial surveys, verified by focus groups created a priority target symptom list, which in turn has focused the project on the relevant needs. The project has researched the technology uses with people with Parkinson’s to assess which platforms to use, and how to shape apps linked to the project. This has subsequently been verified by Delphi Studies carried out by the University of Lisbon, and the technological needs of people with Parkinson’s have been investigated by AbilityNet.
Current project status
The SENSE-PARK team has designed a prototype sensor and device system, linked to an interface, that generates reports which are relevant for people with Parkinson’s and clinicians. The prototypes are currently being tested by users to validate the symptom domains prioritised by people with Parkinson’s before the whole system enters a clinical trial in Spring 2014.
How can SENSE-PARK help?
The devices developed by the SENSE-PARK team will allow continuous assessment of motor symptoms within the context of an everyday living environment. Information is captured by wearable devices which have the ability to ‘sense’ fluctuations in motor symptoms. The SENSE-PARK system also incorporates a series of tests which focus attention on non-motor aspects of Parkinson’s such as mental agility, mood and sleeping patterns.
Using SENSE-PARK devices
The measuring devices used in SENSE-PARK have been designed to be as easy to use as possible so that they do not impinge on daily life. The non-motor tests have also been designed to be minimally intrusive so that repeated use does not become laborious or boring. There are, however, some important points to note about the use of SENSE-PARK devices:
- While measuring your own Parkinson’s might put you in a better position to understand aspects of your own illness, any change to medication regimes should be first discussed and agreed with your healthcare professional.
- Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition and while it is hoped that SENSE-PARK will improve quality of life for its users and contribute to the earlier development and availability of new treatments, people with Parkinson’s are advised not to expect the use of the devices to have a direct effect on the progressive nature of the illness and that over time this is likely to be reflected in the measurement feedback.
- Users of the SENSE-PARK devices should be conscious of their own prioritisation of symptoms so that they can adopt the use of devices which assess those issues which are most important in the enjoyment of their own lives. By doing this SENSE-PARK becomes a more personalised and individual approach to symptom measurement and the management of one’s Parkinson’s by healthcare professionals can be optimised.