Apple Watch tracks Parkinson's disease symptoms, medication adherence

Apple researchers worked with 15 scientists to design a system within the Apple Watch that tracks Parkinson's disease symptoms, according to research published Feb. 3 in Science Translational Medicine, which is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The system, called Motor fluctuations Monitor for Parkinson’s Disease, uses the Apple Watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope data to track users' resting tremors or dyskinesia. It was created using data from a 118-person pilot study in which patients' Apple Watch data was compared to a scoring system called MDS-UPDRS Part III, the gold standard used by Parkinson's specialists to measure symptoms.

The measurements helped flag symptoms that often go undetected by traditional monitoring methods, as well as flagged critical symptom changes in patients who had surgery for deep brain stimulation.

The system also helped identify patients who were not adhering to their medication regimens and detected patients whose symptoms may improve with a modified medication regimen.

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