Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects 6.3M people worldwide, and has a debilitating effect on its sufferers.
It is well known that PD causes problems in movement, and sometimes complete freezing, as well as hidden non-motor symptoms that are the cause of confusion and speech difficulties. What is less known is that these symptoms come and go during the day. These periods are known as ON and OFF periods. Whit applying effective medication, the OFF periods can be significantly reduced, allowing patients to live normal and independent live.
Current treatments are based on fluctuations of ON and OFF periods, and can effectively minimize symptoms for years. However, the methods used to identify these changing periods are inaccurate and do not reflect the fact that these periods can change on a daily basis, due to two main reasons:
Therefore, it is extremely difficult to accurately define the medication dosage and timing accurately in order to meet each individual’s needs perfectly. As a result, patients suffer from debilitating symptoms. Thus, they require support care, which would be unnecessary if the medication was adjusted correctly so that every patient’s need could be met. The cost of medical evaluation, inpatient and nursing home support or expenses related to the reduced productivity of care givers are estimated to represent 79% of the total treatment costs of PD (€ 13,9Bn). In Europe the treatment of PD costs € 11Bn a year on average. These costs all predominantly fall on the care givers. According to estimations, 45% of the caregivers for Parkinson’s disease are the patients’ family members who give up their paid employment in order to take care for their loved ones. In addition, Government accounts also suffer losses of billions of euros due to the lower productivity of the economy.
One way to obtain continuous results could be to observe the patient for a period of time in a hospital. But this is very expensive and can only be consider a short-term solution, since patient’s disease will have progressed after a period of months, As a result, medication will need to be adjusted, and the patient readmitted. Due to the difficulties in obtaining accurate results by examining patients over a period of time, the use of ICT tools for measuring disease progression in PD has become an emerging research topic during recent years. However, none of the available technologies have been able to show an effective approach to diagnose and follow the disease status and, subsequently, have been unable to provide personalized and appropriate treatment.
PARK-IT is a wearable device that is placed on the patient’s waist within a comfortable belt. Firstly, using a set of sensors, advanced algorithms and signal processing methods, this device identifies and records the patient’s PD motors symptoms (ON/OFF fluctuations, among others). Secondly, when this information is collected and thanks to a mobile application, the information is accessible to patients and their health care professionals. The knowledge provided by PARK-IT helps doctors and patients to make informed and improved decisions on how to treat the individual’s changing PD. Receiving the information provided by PARK-IT helps patients to:
Previously, it has not been possible to continuously monitor a patient’s ON and OFF periods in real time. So far, current solutions have focused on analyzing PD’s specific symptoms, rather than paying attentions to ON/OFF fluctuations. Furthermore, they are based on the reports made by the patients.
PARK-IT is the first device available on the market that allows a reliable, extensive, continuous, direct, interoperable, and cost- effective monitoring of PD in ambulatory conditions. Now, PARK-IT provides quantitative insights to inform patients and their health professional about their PD status and evolution.
The overall objectives of PARK-IT 2.0 Phase II project are:
The PARK-IT solution is composed of 3 main parts:
Based on this symptom evaluation, PARK-IT has three main applications:
PARK-IT works with neurologists and their Parkinson’s patients to improve the effectiveness of their medication, their quality of life, and reduce the overall costs of care.
There are 6.3M people with PD worldwide, all of them are potential users of PARK-IT, and 1.2M of whom living in Europe. It is estimated that about 1-2% of people over 65 years are affected by the disease. PD is expected to double in 2030 due to aging and demographic change, particularly in Europe, Japan and North America. Although it is associated with older age groups, 10% are affected before the age of 50 years.
The Hoehn and Yahr (H&Y) scale rates 1-to-5 the severity of the PD, and defines three main groups of patients corresponding to mild (C), moderate (B) and advanced (A) stages. In Europe there are 684.000 patients at the mild stage C (57%), 420.000 moderate stage B (35%) and 96.000 at the advanced stage A (8%). The care needs of PD are different according to the stage of disease progression. As PD patient’s disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to live an independent, quality and fulfilled life. PARK-IT’s value to these patients is simple, but vital because it ensures that the medication is effective when the patient needs it, and it allows PD patients to live independently, and improves quality lives for longer.
PARK-IT targets to PD patients in the moderate (B) and late mild stage (C), as they are the ones that already presented some symptoms related to motor disorders. In total these segments reach 625k of the 1.2M PD patients in Europe, growing at 8% annually. Globally, the total will reach over 15,5M by 2022.
The project has been structured around six workpackages:
|Project Name||Unobtrusive, Continuous and Quantitative Assessment of Parkinson’s disease: Hard Evidence for Optimal Disease Management with Information Technologies|
|Project Acronym||PARK-IT 2.0|
|Total cost:||998.510,50 €|
|EC funding:||698.957,35 €|
|Project start date||1/2/2017|
|Project duration||24 months|