One of the biggest challenges neurologists face when managing patients with Parkinson’s disease is making treatment decisions based on relatively brief patient interactions and subjective patient reports about their symptoms. A new wearable device developed by neurologists in Australia has the potential to inject some objectivity into those treatment decisions.
Michele Tagliati, director of the movement disorders program in the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles), told Medical Device Daily that the device, called the Personal KinetiGraph (PKG), is a potential game-changer for treating Parkinson’s disease because it is designed to record motion data over a period of up to 10 days. That data can then be downloaded to help the physician identify symptom trends and fine-tune that individual’s treatment.
Tagliati said Parkinson’s patients often experience fluctuations throughout the day where they may have their symptoms under control for a few hours and then suddenly they are “off”. Those symptom fluctuations can be difficult to capture because patients don’t always remember them during office visits or they struggle to put their symptoms into words.
“This little device provides incredible information for doctors, but also for the patient,” Tagliati said.
The FDA cleared the PKG device from Global Kinetics Corporation (Melbourne) late last year and Tagliati and his colleague, Echo Tan, plan to launch a 50-patient trial to study the device’s effectiveness. Tan told MDD that study will start in about a month and will include patients at all stages of Parkinson’s disease.
The technology also has the potential to help physicians and their patients make difficult decisions, such as when it might be time to consider a more aggressive therapy option like deep brain stimulation. “Many times that decision is based on my clinical expertise and patients need to trust my word that they have reached the point where they need to make the leap into brain surgery,” Tagliati said. “Something like this might put down some objective measures that show the patient is not responding to the medication anymore.”
Tan said the device also is designed with a medication reminder feature that can be pre-set by the doctor. “A lot of patients really like that feature and ask if they can keep the device because of it,” she said