healtheo360 Wellness Blog

Researchers See if Google Glass Can Help Parkinson's Patients

Posted by healtheo360 on Apr 11, 2014 9:41:43 AM

Courtesy of Newcastle University (NEW YORK) -- As rumors swirl about Google Glass finally being available to the public, the device is already being examined for use as a daily aid for people with Parkinson’s disease.

In Newcastle University in Newcastle, England, researchers are examining if Google Glass can help Parkinson’s patients monitor their symptoms and be more mobile.

In one small study, researchers held workshops with patients with Parkinson’s disease and then let them use Google glass at home.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that results in a loss of motor control including rigidty, tremors and ‘bradykinesia’ or slowness of movement. The disease affects up to 10 million people, usually those over 50. Medication can help stop symptoms, but users have to be careful about timing their doses so they don’t risk side effects that can lead to exacerbated tremors.

Lynn Tearse, 50, participated in the study along with her partner Ken Booth. Tearse, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008, said she was eager to try out the voice-activated device, since tremors in her hand can make it difficult for her to use a phone.

“It’s like working a mobile phone with boxing gloves on,” said Tearse. “[Google Glass] was something I was genuinely interested in…You can take a photograph and take a video and search the Internet. You can make a call and send a text.”

Additionally, Tearse said the arguments people made about how Google Glass could invade privacy, were actually positive arguments for its use as an assistive device.

“It allows people to remain in control of their lives and have confidence to go out on their own,” said Tearse, who hopes to buy the device when they’re available. “If you can sync your Google glass with your computer at home, it can be streamed through to a loved one at home. Keep an eye on and make you feel reassured."

Roisin McNaney, co-author of the study and PhD student in computer science at Newcastle University, said one scary symptom of Parkinson’s is that people can become “frozen” to the ground. McNaney said many users were happy the device was voice-operated so that if they became “stucky” they could call for help without being hindered by tremors.

“One of the main [worries] was the sense of a lack of confidence when going out and about in public themselves,” said McNancey. “[They had] the view that glass could potentially really support this. We find that quite interesting. “

John Vines, senior research associate in computer science at Newcastle University and co-author of the study, said he thought that the participants, between the ages of 46-70, would likely not love the device but was pleasantly surprised by their reaction.

“I was absolutely mesmerized by the hugely positive reaction, I don’t think I had ever come across that in the last five or ten years,” said Vines. “It’s the issue of confidence and sense of reassurance that someone can leave the home on their own.”

Vines said one main focus on using the device would be to try and use it as a way to monitor symptoms. Small sensors in the computer could measure eye and head movement and alert users if they start to exhibit more symptoms so they can either take more medication or get to a safe place before more of their symptoms return and render them immobile.Vines and the study’s co-authors plan on presenting their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery conference in Toronto at the end of the month.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Report: Alzheimer's Far More Likely than Breast Cancer in Women over 60

Posted by healtheo360 on Mar 29, 2014 10:20:31 AM

Women age 60 and older have a 1 in 6 chance of getting Alzheimer's disease in their lifetime, and are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's compared with breast cancer, according to a report from the Alzheimer's Association.

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Double Duty Drug: Statins May Fight MS

Posted by healtheo360 on Mar 22, 2014 3:14:46 PM

Jaykayl/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cholesterol-busting statins may have an unexpected benefit for patients with multiple sclerosis, a new study found.

Researchers in the U.K. studied 140 patients diagnosed with the most severe form of the disease, known as secondary progressive MS. They found that high doses of statins -- about double the average amount that patients take to keep their cholesterol levels in check -- reduced the rate of brain shrinkage in these patients.

“I see hundreds of patients with secondary progressive MS in my clinic,” said Dr. Jeremy Chataway, a neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London and lead author of the study, published Tuesday in The Lancet.

“These patients are physically disabled and have no treatment,” Chataway added, calling the study ”an exciting first step.”

Statin treatment led to a 43 percent reduction in the rate of brain shrinkage in the patients in the study, according to Chataway. The hope is that putting the brakes on this shrinkage will slow the progression toward physical disability.

Neurology experts not involved with the research said the new findings are promising -- but preliminary.

“Patients with secondary progressive MS are usually a step away from a cane, or already bed-bound or in a wheelchair,” said Dr. John Cobroy, professor of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The study is both well-executed and interesting, he said, but added that he feels the results should be further analyzed in advanced trials before doctors rush to give statins to all patients with MS.

While past research has suggested that the anti-inflammatory properties of statins may curb the damage in the brain seen in MS, researchers are still steps away from a full understanding of this relationship. Still, if statins -- a widely used drug with a good safety profile -- prove to have benefits against MS as well, they may be a welcome option against a disease for which treatments are so sparse.

This study “gives us first indications for treating and helping restore what’s potentially lost,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “It’s proof of concept that you can take an existing strategy and repurpose it to target something else.”Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Early Signs That High-Calorie Diet May Help With Lou Gehrig's disease

Posted by Team healtheo360 on Mar 16, 2014 11:03:49 AM

THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There's early evidence from a small study that people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease -- who are fed a high-calorie, high-carb diet, may see the progression of their disease slowed.

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Alzheimer's toll may rank with cancer, heart disease

Posted by healtheo360 on Mar 6, 2014 11:16:58 AM

Alzheimer's disease ravages the brain, robbing its victims not only of their memories but often their ability to do things as basic as swallowing.

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Depression Speeds Up Aging?

Posted by healtheo360 on Nov 30, 2013 2:02:13 PM

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here's a study that will further depress people suffering from depression: their condition possibly ages them faster than people who are more emotionally even-keeled.

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Lyrics from Popular Songs May Help Dementia Patients

Posted by healtheo360 on Nov 19, 2013 10:31:47 AM

Stephanie Howard/The Image Bank(NEW YORK) -- Music not only has charms to soothe the savage beast, as English poet William Congreve wrote but if you can manage to remember the words, a song might ease the effects of memory-robbing dementia.

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Alzheimer's Disease Risk May Be Increased by High Blood Pressure

Posted by healtheo360 on Nov 14, 2013 10:46:37 AM

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- There's a new reason for people in their 50s and 60s to keep a close watch on their blood pressure: hypertension may be linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.

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Biomarker Risk of Alzheimer's Disease: Do You Want to Know?

Posted by healtheo360 on Nov 11, 2013 11:13:45 AM

A research study has revealed the new biomarker risk of Alzheimer's disease.

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