News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron BioInnovation

Metro RTA

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine




Exploradio: Measuring progress in Parkinson's research
A Cleveland-based company is providing tools to help researchers explore unconventional therapies for Parkinson's patients
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Tango is known to benefit Parkinson's patients. A Kent State researcher has found that asymmetrical movements that vary in speed provide the most benefits. A Parkinson's dance program gives free monthly lessons.
Courtesy of Maja Majika Flickr CC
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A technology developed in Cleveland is helping researchers track Parkinson’s disease in patients.

In this week’s Exploradio, we see how the diagnostic tool allows scientists to hone new therapies.

LISTEN: Exploradio - Parkinson's research

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (5:02)


Motion sensor measures Parkinson's symptoms
Great Lakes Neurotechnologies
sales manager Maureen Phillips opens a small, black satchel.  Inside there is a tablet computer, a motion sensor, and a charging pad.

The sugar cube sized motion sensor fits onto the forefinger of a Parkinson’s patient.  The computer then guides them through a standard set of assessments - simple movements that measure the intensity of tremors.

Dustin Heldman is one of the engineers at Great Lakes Neurotechnologies who developed the device that contains a triaxial accelerometer and a triaxial gyroscope to measure, "both linear and rotational motion.”

He says the sensor detects fine degrees of movement, "And then we can automatically rate their motor symptoms using the motion sensor data while they’re at home, and the data is all sent up to a secure server using mobile broadband and then a report is generated so the doctor can see how the patient is doing.”

The company is marketing the device to doctors who treat Parkinson’s patients as a way for them to track the ebb and flow of symptoms throughout the day, and to researchers seeking a better way to quantify the effects of drugs and therapy.  Phillips says the motion sensor takes the guesswork out of the standard practice of visually quantifying tremors.

Phillips says, with the sensor, “You have high sensitivity, you have an objective method for measuring motor symptoms, and you have something that’s consistent and repeatable.”

In other words, reliable data -


'Smart bike' varies speed to improve benefits
And that’s why Angela Ridgel is using the motion sensor system in her work at Kent State University’s exercise physiology department. 

She says there is no cure for Parkinson’s.  But she studies exercise interventions that, "either delay the progression of the disease or decrease the symptoms.”

People with Parkinson’s disease are often treated with increasing dosages of drugs as the disease progresses.  Ridgel says the side effects of medications also increase, “So if we could limit those side effects by having them use exercise in conjunction with the medication then that would be very valuable.”

Ridgel developed the 'smart bike' with a German company that incorporates her findings.  It's called the MOTOMed Viva2 Parkinson.

Ridgel and grad student Robert Phillips use the motion sensor on the fingers of Parkinson’s patients to measure their tremors after using the smart bike and without it.

What they found is that, with the smart bike, people’s symptoms improved dramatically, but not just because of the exercise.

Ridgel found that to see benefits, the speed, or cadence of the pedaling needs to vary -  steady pedaling just doesn’t cut it. 

Her theory behind the results is based on sensory receptors in the legs. She says these sensory receptors measure muscle length, muscle force and joint position, "And those are very responsive to changes in those parameters."

Ridgel says by varying leg movement, "we’re promoting those sensors to activate the central nervous system to promote improvements in function.” 

The goal, says Ridgel, is to reduce drug use through smart bike therapy.

 
Tango provides Parkinson's benefits 
Ridgel says the variable cadence idea extends to another potential therapy for Parkinson’s patients, teaching them to tango.  

Ridgel explains, “Tango is very asymmetric, very irregular movements, and it’s very similar to what we’re doing here.”

She says preliminary studies have shown that while the regular movements of the waltz or foxtrot don’t show improvements, the asymmetric, and syncopated tango benefits Parkinson’s patients.

“So you’re actually getting the nervous system to increase its activity through that varied input.”

Ridgel says any kind of movement helps in holding back Parkinson’s, but tango might be the most fun. 

I’m jstc with this week’s Exploradio.


 

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
requiring drillers to place seismic monitors when they drill within 3 miles of known fault lines. This comment really upsets me!! What good does an instrument t...

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) ...

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

How can you wipe a criminal record clean?
Great article! NO CLINIC in May 2014, however, because it's graduation month for students For the next dates of the FREE Legal Clinic to help with Expungment,...

Drilling remains suspended while ODNR investigates NE Ohio earthquakes
Flaring and lights, so has all been halted? Also, smell of HS2 and sounds of an auger/drilling/water rushing underground. So, has all been halted? In light of t...

Will the Ohio River carry fracking wastewater?
Texas $ vs. WV citizens . Who will our governor listen to?

McKinley museum launches campaign to buy 'pawned' heirloom
Was the tiara sold or pawned? What is the name of the person who brought the tiara to the Gold

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University