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.

Greater Akron Chamber

The Holden Arboretum


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



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Study shows raising the cigarette tax a dollar could raise $342 million
So, it takes an expert to tell us raising the tobacco tax raises the revenue for the state? Doh. By the way, any one who was going to quit smoking probably alre...

Akron's Highland Square celebrates community spirit and public art
Both Donna and her husband, Joseph are both such amazing art talents! The photos look stunning! I must get down to Angel Falls for an in-person look. I just l...

Pluto: Another off-season, another Browns quarterback conundrum
The Browns do need a draftable QB for the future. Johnny Manziel needs to go and that leaves Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw. Free agency doesn't really have any so...

Exploradio: Improving the lives of paralyzed people
God bless you doctor. I hope to be alive the day that humans, like me, can use the results of your search...

Nature and nourishment down by the river at the Metroparks' Merwin's Wharf
I love QUICKBITES! I look forward to it every week. One question: is it possible to include a link to the restaurant or store that you profile? Thanks!

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Mozzarella's easy when you have a way with curd
Hello, Where can I get such a heater that you have? Does it hold temperature that you set? What brand and model is it? Thank you in advance!! :)

Pluto: A healthy LeBron James is the key for the rocky Cavs
It's time to back our Cleveland professional teams through thick and thin. I've seen management, players and coaches come and go and it hasn't changed a thing. ...

Copyright © 2015 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