A recent study led by scientists at the UK DRI and Neuroscience and Mental Health Innovation Institute at Cardiff University has revealed that smartwatches hold the potential to detect Parkinson’s disease up to seven years before the emergence of hallmark symptoms.
The researchers studied data obtained from 103,712 UK Biobank participants who wore a medical-grade smartwatch for a week between 2013 and 2016.
This meant that speed of movement and average acceleration had been measured by the devices continuously for the week.
The researchers compared data from two groups, including one consisting of participants already diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Another group comprised individuals who received their diagnosis up to seven years after the collection of smartwatch data.
The data was analysed to measure the participants’ movement speed over a span of seven days.
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Scientists found that smartwatches utilising artificial intelligence can precisely predict individuals who are likely to develop Parkinson’s disease in the future.
According to researchers, smartwatches can serve as a new screening tool for Parkinson’s disease by allowing the disorder detection at a much earlier stage than existing methods.
UK DRI at Cardiff emerging leader and study leader Dr Cynthia Sandor said: “We have shown here that a single week of data captured can predict events up to seven years in the future.
“With these results, we could develop a valuable screening tool to aid in the early detection of Parkinson’s.”