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Early detection of the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease

11 - April

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. According to NHS, around 1 in 500 people are affected by this disease, and most people start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50.

Although there’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are treatments that may help reduce the main symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

Under these premises, in the coming months, Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and the University of Padova in Italy, will pilot an intelligent digital service for patients and clinicians that will improve the care of Parkinson’s disease, optimising also the use of healthcare professionals’ knowledge. AICCELERATE is working to transfer the follow-up of this chronic disease to a normal living environment and, at the same time, to provide decision-supporting tools to clinicians for early recognition of deterioration or progression.

In the development of the solution, both HUS and UniPD are involving mainly experts in Parkinson’s Disease and general neurologists. The involvement of these experts has been crucial to understanding their current monitoring practices, their general attitudes about the use of new technologies, their preferences for the development and the reasons that could push them to use or to avoid an algorithmic-driven system.

“It could be helpful to have a tool that tells me – Better to see him again in a month, than in a year” – Italian neurologist

The Smart Hospital Care Pathway Engine will integrate the expertise of general neurologists jointly with specific knowledge through the involvement of specialized neurologists in the design process. It will support general neurologists engaged in small clinics, and neurology departments non-specialized in Parkinson’s Disease that often follow up with patients in the first stages of the disease.

The patients will benefit from early detection of the advanced phases of Parkinson’s disease. They will receive more personalized care pathways suitable to their health and social needs, better management of motor and non-motor symptoms and an increase in the overall quality of life for them and their families.

The project will use the support of tools and apps as solutions for home monitoring that will help with detecting motor symptoms regularly in patients’ normal living environments. This may help to clarify the fluctuations of the symptoms and the recognition of those symptoms that are difficult for the patients to recognize or describe. In the words of Laura Mäkitie from HUS, “We cannot cure or hinder the progression of Parkinson’s disease, but the progress might be better recognized with repeated measurements”. Data collection and analysis can foresee the evolution of the disease and will help to provide better care. From disease centric to patient and quality-of-life-centric care.

 

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