UR Doctors Help Develop App to Track Parkinson's

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Source: Democrat & Chronicle

For people with a chronic disease, a visit to their doctor captures how they're feeling at that moment.

"I can go to the doctor and I can feel fine," said Jill Ritter of Geneva, who was diagnosed 10 years ago with early onset Parkinson's disease. "What's different about the doctor's office is you can perform differently on tests in the office than you would every day at home. Like when they take your blood pressure in the office, it will be different than if you take it at home."

As a way to help doctors and patients track Parkinson's, two University of Rochester researchers helped develop an iPhone app called mPower that collects information about the physical and emotional aspects of the disease over time and shares results with both.

The free app debuted Monday at Apple's semi-annual product show in San Francisco. While the new Apple Watch stole the show, mPower could make its own splash.

"I think it opens a new era in medical research," said Dr. Ray Dorsey, a neurologist with UR Medicine and one of the developers of mPower, which stands for Mobile Parkinson Observatory for Worldwide, Evidence-based Research).

"For first time, individuals are able to participate in research regardless of where they live," said Dorsey, who collaborated nearly five years with fellow UR Medicine neurologist Dr. Karl Kieburtz, a mathematician in the United Kingdom and a nonprofit research organization in Seattle.

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