Words by Abi Scaife
Scientists have found that smartwatches may be able to detect Parkinson’s early on.
That’s amazing! How does it work?
Researchers from the UK Dementia Research Institute team at Cardiff University used artificial intelligence to help analyse smartwatch data from around 103,712 people. The data was collected between 2013 and 2016.
The AI was able to use this programme to track which of the participants would go on to develop Parkinson’s - seven years before they develop any symptoms.
Why is that such a big deal?
By the time Parkinson’s is diagnosed, often when symptoms such as involuntary shaking and slow movements are persistent, the damage done to brain cells is usually extensive and irreversible.
If we could use smartwatches, which some 30% of the UK population wear, as a screening tool, this could help us to predict who might develop Parkison’s so that doctors can intervene before any damage is done.
While this is incredibly exciting, it’s important to note that this is still in very early stages, and more independent studies are needed to verify the results.
Still, it’s really promising - and certainly something positive to look forward to!
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
Beacon. Beacon (formerly known as Findacure) is a UK-based charity that is building a united rare disease community with patient groups at its heart. Support them here.
Alzheimer’s Research UK. Alzheimer's Research UK are the UK's leading Alzheimer's research charity aiming to find a cure for dementia. Learn how to support them here.
The Brain Charity. The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including ADHD. Support them here.