Fingernail Sensor From IBM Tracks Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Functions

A fingernail sensor manufactured by IBM can now constantly track and measure finger motion.

The data are analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI) and provides accurate tracking of a persons motor abilities. The IBM focus was to create a device that can help monitor Parkinson’s patients. This is very important, especially in senior citizens, as medication dosages may need to be adjusted. In addition, Parkinson’s sufferer tend to be seniors and skin-based sensors are not as sensitive or accurate.

 

fingernail sensor

 

The fingernail sensor measures grip strength, walking speed and gait length. These motor functions give the physician an indication of a person’s physical and mental health.

 

Currently, these motor movements are infrequently measured in a doctor’s office which can delay treatment for early onset symptoms.

 

Fingernail Sensor: What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

The IBM focus was to create a device that can help monitor Parkinson’s patients. This is very important, especially in senior citizens, as medication dosages may need to be adjusted from time to time. In addition, Parkinson’s sufferers tend to be senior citizens and skin-based sensors are not as sensitive or accurate.

 

Additional movement symptoms are:

 

  • Cramping: sustained or repetitive twisting or tightening of muscle.
  • Drooling: while not always viewed as a motor symptom, excessive saliva or drooling may result due to a decrease in normally automatic actions such as swallowing.
  • Dyskinesia: involuntary, erratic writhing movements of the face, arms, legs or trunk.
  • Festination: short, rapid steps taken during walking. May increase risk of falling and often seen in association with freezing.
  • Freezing: gives the appearance of being stuck in place, especially when initiating a step, turning or navigating through doorways. Potentially serious problem as it may increase risk of falling, especially for senior citizens.
  • Masked face: results from the combination of bradykinesia and rigidity.
  • Micrographia: small, untidy and cramped handwriting.
  • Shuffling gait: accompanied by short steps and often a stooped posture.
  • Soft speech: soft, sometimes hoarse, voice that can occur in PD.

 

Fingernail Sensor: What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Dopamine is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain that is responsible for controlling movement, emotional responses and the ability to feel pleasure and pain.

 

In people with Parkinson’s, the cells that make dopamine don’t work. As Parkinson’s progresses, more dopamine-producing brain cells die.

The brain eventually reaches a point where it stops producing dopamine in any significant amount. This causes problems with movement.

 

Here’s a video showing how the fingernail sensor works:

 

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