Tracking Parkinson’s with Advanced Technologies


The Michael J. Fox Foundation is partnering with Intel to develop big data

approaches for capturing patients' daily experience of living with Parkinson’s disease.

Patients are the greatest experts on their disease. By learning more directly from them about measurable aspects of PD, such as slowness of movement, tremor and gait disturbances, we hope to improve research and treatment of the disease.

We are assessing the use of wearable devices, such as smartphones and watches, to track PD 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Intel is developing big data techniques to detect patterns captured by the devices. Those insights could help improve the use of current Parkinson's treatments, assess potential new treatments, and point to new research directions for therapeutic development.

What are big data techniques?

We think of them as mathematical formulas. By applying these formulas to huge quantities of data — the wearable devices we're testing can transmit up to 300 data points per second per patient — researchers can extract new insights or make predictions.

What does this mean for people living with Parkinson’s?

For an individual patient, data analysis can give you a better picture of your daily life with PD to share with your doctor, and you can contribute to clinical research by sharing your de-identified data.

The technology remains experimental with a small number of volunteers, but eventually we hope wearable devices could become a common aspect of living with PD.

How can people with Parkinson's get involved?

The next phase of our data gathering study will start recruiting in New York, Boston and Tel Aviv this fall. Register with to be alerted of this and other studies in your area.

1 Reply

  • I just received my smart watch from the Fox Foundation yesterday. Unfortunately I had a few problems setting it up but I can tell you one thing. My watch is connected to my email address. I can read my email off my watch! Hopefully I will get it set correctly so I can stay in touch with the Foundation on Monday when they are at work and they can help me out with it.

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