Monitoring an Apple in motion

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Wearable technology offers the potential to more accurately monitor the symptoms of Parkinson’s in real time. Such information could allow for better and more precise management of the condition, as well as providing objective measures for clinical trials exploring novel therapies.

Assessing some of the features of Parkinson’s, however, is not easy. Differentiating jerky involuntary movements like tremor or dyskinesias from planned movements like typing or shaking someone’s hand has proven difficult

Recently, researchers at the tech giant Apple have been applying some focus to this problem and they are now sharing their results with the Parkinson’s community.

In today’s post, we will review a research report presenting the results of the Apple study and discuss other recent events in wearable tech for Parkinson’s.

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Source: Tes

I used to be an Apple fan back in the day (mid-late 2000s). Wonderful user interface, superb design, lovely innovative products.

But I have to admit: gradually over time I became disenchanted with them.

Why?

The products became too expensive, the “Walled garden” mentality around the operating system frustrated me, and there has been a lack of serious innovation (a new iteration on a phone or tablet every year just doesn’t cut it… and now they are thinking of getting into the crowded space of electric cars… yippee, inspiring stuff).

Maybe we came to expect too much from them, but (personal opinion here) I think they lost their fanatical drive in the absence of Steve.

Source: Dansilvestre

[Positive way to start a post on, huh? It gets better. Stay with me]

All of that said, Apple published a research report earlier this year that deserves the Parkinson’s community’s attention and respect.

What did they report?

Continue reading “Monitoring an Apple in motion”

Mission: Not Impossible

 

 

The SoPD has a policy of not advertising or endorsing products/services.

This rule is in place to avoid any ethical/conflict of interest situations. It does little, however, to stop folks from bombarding the comments sections with links for wondrous magical cures which probably involve more ‘magical’ than actual cure.

Having said all that, every now and then I find or read about something that I think may be of interest to readers. In many of those cases, I can not vouch for the information being provided, but where I think there is the potential to stimulate the imagination of the reader, I am happy to take a chance and share it.

Today’s post is all about one such case: Not impossible labs.

 


Source: mfah

The first character in this story is a graffiti artist.

His name is Tony ‘Tempt’ Quan.

Tempt grew up in east Los Angeles, painting his name and art across the city from the 1980s onwards. He became the stuff of myth and legend – one of the most influential figures in the graffiti scene in California for a generation.

Source: Reelhouse

But that all changed in 2003, when – at 34 years of age – Tempt was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (or ALS).

Also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a neurodegenerative condition that leaves the sufferer completely paralysed. There are only two FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of ALS, but they have little if any impact on disease course.

For 6 years, Tempt lay paralysed and did not produce a single piece of art.

And that was when the second character in this story appeared.

His name was Mick Ebeling.

Continue reading “Mission: Not Impossible”

Exenatide: Identifying the responders

In a recent post we discussed the results of the Exenatide clinical trial from last year, and looked at some further analysis of the data, which hinted at the possibility that the drug may be having additional benefits (Click here to read that post).

The researchers behind the Exenatide study have now published the results of a second deep dive into the data and found something potentially very interesting and useful: they may have identified certain characteristics of those participants in the study who responded the best to the drug. 

The researchers are quick to point out that this type of post hoc analysis is only conducted for the purpose of generating hypotheses, but it will be interesting to determine if this is finding is validated in further clinical investigations of Exenatide.

In today’s post, we will review the new finding and discuss what they could potentially mean.


Tom Isaacs. Source: GrannyButtons

For most of the Parkinson’s community, Tom Isaacs requires no introduction.

In 1996 – at just 27-years of age – the London-based surveyor was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. After dealing with the initial shock of it all, Tom embraced his situation and became a committed, (utterly) tireless activist. He first walked the entire coastline of the UK to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s. His book, “Shake well before use“, discusses that trip and adapting to life with Parkinson’s. It is a fantastic read.

And upon returning from his epic walk, he (along with three others) founded and set up the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

It is pretty safe to say that beyond Michael J Fox and Muhammad Ali, Tom was one of the most impactful members of the Parkinson’s community on marshaling scientific research efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s.

And he did it all with style and humour:

This was a video of Tom in 2009, talking about life with Parkinson’s:

His passing last year was a terrible loss to the community, and this month, the European Journal of Neuroscience has a special tribute edition dedicated to the memory of Tom.

One of the research reports in that issue involves a study that was very close to Tom’s heart: The Exenatide study.

And the report provides some very interesting new results based on re-analysis of the results of the clinical study.

What does the new report say?

Continue reading “Exenatide: Identifying the responders”

The omnigenics of Parkinson’s disease?

agarose-gel-electrophoresis-dna

One of the most common observations that people make when they attend a Parkinson’s disease support group meeting is the huge variety of symptoms between sufferers.

Some people affected by this condition are more tremor dominant, while others have more pronounced gait (or walking) issues. In addition, some people have an early onset version, while others has a very later onset. What could explain this wide range of features?

A group of Stanford researchers have recently proposed an interesting new idea regarding our understanding of genetics that could partly explain some of this variability. In todays post I speculate on whether their idea could be applied to Parkinson’s disease.


shutterstock_225119212

Source: Discover

Earlier this year an interesting study was published in the prestigious journal Nature on the topic of the genetics of height (yes height. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this):

Nature
Title: Rare and low-frequency coding variants alter human adult height
Authors: Marouli E, Graff M, Medina-Gomez C, Lo KS, Wood AR, Kjaer TR, Fine RS, Lu Y, Schurmann C,………at least 200 additional authors have been deleted here in order to save some space…….EPIC-InterAct Consortium; CHD Exome+ Consortium; ExomeBP Consortium; T2D-Genes Consortium; GoT2D Genes Consortium; Global Lipids Genetics Consortium; ReproGen Consortium; MAGIC Investigators, Rotter JI, Boehnke M, Kathiresan S, McCarthy MI, Willer CJ, Stefansson K, Borecki IB, Liu DJ, North KE, Heard-Costa NL, Pers TH, Lindgren CM, Oxvig C, Kutalik Z, Rivadeneira F, Loos RJ, Frayling TM, Hirschhorn JN, Deloukas P, Lettre G.
Journal: Nature. 2017 Feb 9;542(7640):186-190.
PMID: 28146470

In this study, the researchers – who are part of the GIANT consortium – were analysing DNA collected from over 700,000 people and trying to determine what genetic differences could influence height.

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Height is not important for music. Source: Imgur

Why study height?

Good question. There are several reasons:

Firstly, it is easy to accurately measure. Second, the researchers believed that if we can master the complex genetics of something simple like height maybe what we learn will give us a blueprint for how we should study more complex medical disorders that have thus far eluded our complete understanding.

Continue reading “The omnigenics of Parkinson’s disease?”