Successful trials demonstrating the efficacy of the screening test have been published in the Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Journal of Neurology and Frontiers in Neurology.
The research team has refined an earlier version of the technology, which had an accuracy rate of 93%, to take into account the effects of medication on the disease. This means it can also now be used for monitoring the effectiveness of treatment and the severity of the condition.
The new technology is also able to provide more details to clinicians regarding patient symptoms.
“Parkinson’s is a complex multi-symptom disease, with individual patients exhibiting any number of these symptoms,” Kumar said.
“The standard multi-modal physical tests carried out by clinicians to monitor its progress inherently carry a level of subjectivity.
“Our technology is completely objective and it’s highly sensitive for both improvements and deterioration in dexterity.
“As our population ages, the number of people living with Parkinson’s is expected to increase dramatically, so knowing more precisely how the disease is progressing and understanding the effect of different treatments will be crucial in helping them manage their condition.”
The technology was developed by the RMIT biomedical engineering research team in the School of Engineering, which specialises in e-health and affordable diagnostic technologies.
Further patient trials are set to start in Australia and China in mid- 2020, with the technology expected to be commercially available by 2022.
About Parkinson’s disease**
- Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological disease in Australia after dementia
- 38 people in Australia are diagnosed with the disease every day
- 20% of sufferers are under 50 years old and 10% are diagnosed before the age of 40
Story: Gosia Kaszubska
*Sources: Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s Victoria
**Source: Shake It Up Australia Foundation