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Parkinsonís Disease Patients Can Track Progression With Phone App

With smart phones and mobile applications quickly taking over nearly every industry on the planet, it only makes sense that it should also make its mark in the medical world. New apps are popping up in a variety of different departments, including one that can now measure the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disease involving the motor system, and although it can be difficult to diagnose properly, new research is suggesting that the Pocket Doctor application can make a difference in spotting signs early through the measurements of movement and speech. The app was delivered to the British Science Festival, which was held in Birmingham in the United Kingdom, presented by Dr. Max Little of Aston University through the Nonlinearity and Complexity Research Group. 

Smart Phones And Medical Tests

Using mobile devices in medicine may be new, but it isn’t brand new, and this Parkinson’s application isn’t the first to have crossed over from technology to the medical world. There have been portable eye testing apps, and even a case that was developed to monitor your vital statistics. If you perform a brief search you’ll find multiple weight loss, fitness, and health guides, as well as nutritional aids and calorie counters. These are all very worthy causes, but the more advanced the illness, the more advancements are required within the application, and some doctors are questioning whether or not this one will stand up to the test. The main symptoms of Parkinson’s include stiffness of limbs and torso, slow movements, tremors, and instability in regards to balance and coordination. To watch for these signs in any sort of significant way, people who might be diagnosed in the future must be monitored hourly.

How The New Technology Works

This new application does not replace any form of professional medical opinion, and following your doctor’s orders in regards to treatments and diagnosis are extremely important. Instead, you should use it as a tool to aid in monitoring changes in the progression of the disease, to report back to your physician. The program has been designed to monitor by the minute from the comfort of home. Medical News Today reports: “Currently, the team is rendering the technology and collected data into a mobile format to provide daily analysis and feedback, and are testing the app in a group of 2,500 individuals at the University of Oxford.”

Dr. Little, the creator, has also made it clear that he believes doctors can also gain some benefits from this new technology to help in prescribing an appropriate medication and treatment based on how severe the conditions have become.

Understanding PD and How It Is Treated

Parkinson’s disease occurs due to a loss of brain cells that produce the natural chemical dopamine, and it usually affects people ages fifty or over. Currently there is no known cure for PD, but medications and treatments have been developed to make transitions easier and to make patients more comfortable; parkinsons.org suggests: “Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Instead, therapy is directed at treating the symptoms that are most bothersome to an individual with Parkinson’s disease.  For this reason, there is no standard or “best” treatment for Parkinson’s disease that applies to every patient.”

Instead, each patient must be treated individually using a variety or combination of medications and therapeutic practices. The condition can not only cause stiffness and disorientation, but also dementia, depression, personality and sexual changes. Those who must take medications will also face side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, low blood pressure, memory loss, vomiting, constipation, and an inability to sleep properly.

Prescription Drugs And Alternative Medicine

Antimusccarinic drugs are prescribed to about ten percent of Parkinson’s patients to control their depression, bladder issues and the tremors that they have. Studies have shown that patients who use these drugs continuously could be at risk for brain protein clumps, which is a quality that Alzheimer’s patients eventually develop. This has concerned scientists and medical professionals as the risk of PD medication could ultimately lead to Alzheimer’s in the future. Dr. Mercola of mercola.com has suggested the following for patients looking to avoid some of these medications: “Studies have found that inadequate amounts of the B vitamin folate, known as folic acid, may raise the risk of Parkinson''s disease. Fresh, raw vegetables are an excellent source of folic acid, and it’s easy to incorporate plenty of veggies into your diet if you try vegetable juicing.”

You can also try to skip out on pesticides, herbicides and other toxins that might reach your food by washing all produce well, and sticking to more organic materials. This rings true for other chemicals you might contact such as paint, or bug spray. Parkinson’s disease patients also need to steer clear of too much iron in their system, so taking an iron supplement might be a little too much if you’re already getting a steady level of iron from natural sources. Iron results in the release of free radicals into your body if oxidative stress takes over. This means that measuring iron levels can also help you in staying healthy and avoiding the need for certain medications in the future.

Of course, a medical opinion is always the one that should count first, so before choosing to follow any advice given through medical articles it’s best to speak to your physician regarding your condition and possible treatment options that might be right for you. Sometimes there’s no way to prevent neurological disorders, but you can slow them down if treated properly.

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