Co-Authors: Kate Eriksson & Peter Griffith. Peter is a specialist in Data Analytics and Technology, living and working in the UK, USA, and Australia. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2017.
Each day, 10 million people and their families strive to stay healthy, maintain capability, and support each other living with Parkinson's. Every person, their journey, and their goals are different.
As health professionals and researchers provide care and make progress in understanding and treating Parkinson's, health-related technology is also advancing. It's helping to capture deep new health data insights that personalize care and medication, treat and help maintain functionality like mobility and speech, and assist with daily living.
As Parkinson's-related technology is innovated by mainstream (eg. Apple health and falls) and niche providers (eg. gait freezing) across the world, to help you through the process we’ve selected 20 high-performing and awarded technology products for the different needs of those living with Parkinson’s.
We are encouraged by how some of these products allow individuals to achieve things they thought weren’t possible — and by the inspiring stories of people striving to create a better quality of life, and — maybe one day, a world without Parkinson’s.
Finding devices can be difficult for a variety of reasons.
A broad range of ages, stages, symptoms, and needs among people with a Parkinson’s diagnosis, which means there’s no one size fits all. The needs of an early-onset Parkinson’s patient can be very different from an older patient with severe symptoms.
The pace of change in technology makes it difficult and time-consuming for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, health professionals, carers, and families, to follow what’s new, effective, approved, or what might be helpful.
Several technology-enabled products that may be of value are not ‘tagged’ as being for Parkinson’s. These include voice assistants, medication reminders, smartwatches tracking health vitals and data, fall detection, connected home, stress, and sleep, and smart mobility eg scooters, trikes, and wheelchairs.
You can find an always updated, interactive set of Parkinson's and Parkinson's related technologies here.
Quick Guide: 20 Top Products For Parkinson’s
Beats Medical Therapy: Medical grade App to assist with mobility, dexterity, and speech
StrivePD App - Watch App for auto-recording symptoms and interplay (FDA cleared)
Parky App - Watch App for monitoring Parkinson's symptoms (FDA cleared)
PKG Kinetics - Specialist Parkinson's tracking watch for professionals to patients
Apple Watch: Tracks overall health vitals, detect falls, and more
Sensoria Smart Sock: Measures mobility to inform treatment (Parkinson's trial underway)
Agilitas: A wearable helping to overcome Parkinson's “freeze gait” symptom
Rollz Motion Rhythm: A walker with help for freezing of the gait or a disrupted walking pattern
MyTherapy - Parkinson's Medication management and Symptom Tracker
Medisafe App: Medication and symptom management
Medication Dispensers - Helping to manage and organize medication
PDCare - Portable Laser Light Therapy to reduce Parkinson's symptoms
Suyzeko - Photo Biomodulation Helmet for Stroke, Parkinson's & Alzheimer's
Voice Amplification - Assists communication with lowered voice levels
Sleep & Oxygen Ring - Monitors sleep, breathing, and signs of apnea to help reduce fatigue
Alexa Echo Show - Multiple areas of help including daily tasks, Parkinson's advice, productivity, and entertainment
Parkinson's PD Warrior - Online Parkinson's Rehabilitation Program
MOTOmed: An assistive exercise machine designed for people with mobility limitations
Muse - Stress, Mindfulness & Meditation Meditation to reduces impacts of stress of PD
Tremor Stability Utensils - Eating Utensils to assist with eating with mobility & tremours
Plus a mention of the emerging Parkinson's product CUE
Please always consult your health professional, do your own research, consider your own goals, and do not consider these devices to be lifesaving devices. Outcomes vary and can not be promised.
Improves Mobility, Speech, and Dexterity Symptoms
Beats Medical for Parkinson’s App
What we like about Beats Medical Parkinson’s App:
Helps improve mobility, speech, and dexterity symptoms through simple and effective guided exercises
User-friendly app with an intuitive interface
Individualized treatment — it assesses your baseline abilities and suggests the best treatment
Progress reports that show your improvements
Works on iPhone and iPad
Beats Medical is an innovative exercise app that helps to improve the mobility, speech, and dexterity symptoms of Parkinson’s patients in a series of 10-minute therapy sessions. It was founded by Dr. Ciara Clancy — a chartered physiotherapist and researcher who has worked with internationally renowned specialists to develop the Beats Medical app.
It’s received recognition from charities like Parkinson’s UK and an award from Google’s “Adopt a Start-up” program.
The mobility section of the app provides daily, tailored metronome therapy. This is where the user places their phone in their trouser pocket while a “beat” plays from the app.
By matching your steps in time to the beat, your body movements are training to be in sync with your neural timing. This therapy helps users work on improving the quality of their walk and any walking symptoms they may experience.
We love that such a simple exercise can make such a big difference in the lives of Parkinson’s patients, as demonstrated in studies like these.
The speech section provides daily exercises designed to improve vocal volume and voice clarity. For example, as you say certain words, you will need to keep your volume within the green zone on the app’s displayed volume meter. Another great tool within the speech section that we loved was the real-time feedback we received after each exercise.
The dexterity section works on fine motor skills. Using your fingers or a stylus the exercises concentrate on hand coordination techniques making daily tasks easier. These therapies replicate clinical exercises such as the ‘Nine Hole Peg Test'.
More than an app, the subscription includes support from the Beats team and is officially registered as a class-one medical device, given its depth. We love this app for its simplicity, research, and effectiveness via testimonials. They offer a free trial for 14 days, so you can try it risk-free to see if it’s right for you. (It’s rebatable via several insurance funds, for example, NDIS).
Helps collect data to assist in capturing, communicating, and treating Parkinson's
Strive PD iPhone & Apple Watch App
StrivePD is an app for Apple iPhone and Apple Watch. Created by a company called Rune Labs, it's designed to collect as much data as possible to assist with understanding, treating and managing Parkinson's Disease.
The watch collects information and the interplay between sleep, steps/mobility, activity vitals, and symptoms like dyskinesia and tremor, gait, and fall detection, which can be critical in understanding your disease progression.
What we like about StrivePD:
Easily installed on an Apple Watch and Apple iPhone
Enables you to track medications (including reminders and adherence), activities, tremors, sleep and capture side effects
Uses Apple's Movement Disorder Application Programming Interface, which measures and records the types of tremors and involuntary muscle movements
Helps to streamline communication between patients and their care team bringing together all this information, including from DBS if relevant, and other Apple Health data.
The FDA has cleared the technology for remote patient monitoring, care management, and use in clinical trials. HIPAA compliant.
StrivePD serves both patients and clinicians, and there's a process for both patients and neurologists to register to access the data. For clinicians to onboard, there may be a waitlist.
According to RuneLabs, the clinician dashboard allows you to view a summary of Medtronic’s Percept brain signals (including beta activity), daily patterns of tremor and dyskinesia, sleep patterns, and other Apple Health data (mobility, gait, falls), symptoms, side effects, and medication adherence.
The personal experience of the App creator, Aura Oslapas drove the Strive mobile app. She's used the app to track the fluctuation of her own motor symptoms which led to her getting improved treatments for her Parkinson's.
Helps collect data to assist in communicating, and treating Parkinson's
Parky iPhone & Apple Watch App
What we like about Parky:
Parky is an Apple Watch Parkinson’s Disease Tracking App Cleared By The FDA
24/7 wearable symptom tracking
Tracks movement disorder symptoms such as tremors and dyskinesia
Medicine reminders and reporting
Parky can log medicines taken, and display scores for weekly and monthly “compliance”
The website provides easily accessible guides for Patients and Clinicians
Like Strive PD, The app uses Apple’s Movement Disorder API and the watch’s motion sensors to identify tremors and involuntary movements.
There are separate fields for the two symptom families (tremor and dyskinesia), with a presentation similar to that of a fitness tracking app. Graphs of tremors and dyskinesia activity are also generated, effectively making Parky an automated symptom diary that can then be shown to a carer, doctor or another healthcare provider.
4. PKG Kinetics
Dedicated Parkinson's data collection wearable for Health providers with Patients
PKG Kinetics Watch - Global Kinetics
What we like about the PKG:
A dedicated wrist-worn device, prescribed by a Clinician to be worn for 6-10 days.
Specifically designed to track Parkinson’s Disease symptoms like dyskinesia, tremors, motor fluctuations, and more. The data gets sent to your physician so that more accurate information can be collected to inform treatment.
The device has the attention of a number of health bodies (example), and Global Kinetics reports they have taken over 50,000 'PKGs'.
The PKG currently monitors motor symptoms, with users needing to report their non-motor symptoms (eg fatigue, anxiety, and pain) separately.
While it's in some ways easier to use an Apple Watch for continuous tracking over weeks or months including for related health symptoms, this is a focused, medical-grade device, which may prompt a more medically oriented focus to capture and review symptoms, including advice for Medical professionals to interpret. It may also be of benefit for data capture remotely during related clinical trials.
The information collected by the PKG® Watch can tell your doctor more about your movement during the day including if you are moving a bit slowly or having difficulty in performing movements. The PKG® can help your doctor assess the current state of your Parkinson’s disease and assist them in making a decision about the right type and amount of medication for you at the right time.
5. Apple Watch: (with cellular)
Tracks Health measures, shares, detects falls and motivates fitness
Apple Watch - up to Series 8 (Ultra)
What we like about the Apple Watch:
Tracks and computes over 150 types of health data like activity (VO2 max, speed, step length), exercise, and clinical (oxygen sats, resting heart rate, ECG waveform, and Atrial fibrillation) as well as sleep, breathing, and mindfulness.
Brings this together in the Apple Health App for sharing, notifications, and integration into health electronic records (around 800 institutions)
Can assist with capturing Parkinson's relevant measures like steps, gait, and activity and align those to the above health measures
From our experience, we know it can be valuable with Parkinson's to assist in daily living needs such as voice-to-text messaging to make it easier to communicate when typing isn't easy due to fatigue, tremors, or reduced motor control; voice assistance to ask for information, and to make calls or set reminders; plus the benefits of features like fall detection and calling for help when you may not have a phone on you.
The apple watch can be combined with thousands of other apps such as StrivePD, Parky, Medication reminders, breathing, and sleep to name a few.
Tracking data and reviewing trends can assist with understanding health, motivating positive changes, communicating more easily with medical support, and looking back retrospectively to discover trends over time before they were of known interest to you; eg. looking for trends in sleep, activity, or heart rate aligned to changes in medication taken.
Tracking of foot movement and gait (Under Trial for Parkinson's)
Sensoria Smart Sock.
What we like about Sensoria:
May help clinicians gather more accurate data about Parkinson’s patient mobility
Currently measures the number of steps, distance walked, time active, and more
The Sensoria Smart Sock was initially designed to help runners improve their form. And because it saw so much success in the fitness field, it’s undergoing clinical trials to see how it can improve Parkinson’s patients’ outcomes.
To track movements, Sensoria uses smart textile technology that is infused throughout the sock. You can currently pair the sock with an app, so all the data that is collected from the sensors will be consolidated on the app. It can currently give runners all sorts of detailed information about their running technique (whether their landing on their foot correctly).
This technology has many potential benefits for Parkinson’s patients as it can provide clinicians with similar information they’re often looking out for during gait assessments. Another great benefit is that it can give clinicians “live feedback” about their patient’s daily movements. They can get instant data without the need for patients to come into the clinic to do manual assessments.
Sensoria is already available commercially to the fitness market and is currently undergoing trials with the Parkinson’s population. We’re hopeful about the possibilities of this sock and it’s definitely a product to look into over the next few years.
Assists with reducing “freezing gait” to improve mobility
Agilitas Wearable for Parkinson’s improves freezing gait
What we like about Agilitas:
Helps to reduce “freezing gait” by providing the wearer with a visual cue to prompt continued motion.
Improves mobility in Parkinson’s patients to allow them to stay independent for longer and reduce the likelihood of falls
Automatic and manual modes are available
The simple and discreet device
The Agilitas wearable is a simple, black disc that you can wear on your clothing around the hip area to help with the “freezing gait” symptom that’s common to Parkinson’s Disease. It uses a motion-sensing algorithm to detect when you’re about to freeze. It then shines a small red dot on the floor to visually cue your brain as to where the next steps should go.
"Agilitas represents a revolutionary approach to the treatment of freezing of gait. It harnesses sophisticated 21st-century technology to create a discreet, powerful, yet elegantly simple solution. Agilitas promises to improve the quality of life of countless patients with Parkinson’s Disease.” Endorsed by Dr Rodney Marsh FRANZCP MBBS
You can use it in automatic mode, where the Agilitas will detect when you’re about to freeze on its own. Alternatively, there is the manual mode where you can tap it once to turn on the light on your own. And double tapping it keeps the light on permanently — good for areas with many obstacles. There is also now a cane attachment included.
“I have used the Agilitas Device, mostly when I go out, for about a year. The Agilitas device definitely helps me to overcome freezing episodes and to walk independently.” Tess Diamond, Agilitas Customer
We love that it’s small and discreet, but most of all effective. You can feel more confident about walking as it can help to improve mobility and prevent free-related falls.
Assists with mobility, reducing falls and "freezing gait"
Rollz Motion Rhythm Walker
Rollz Motion Rhythm is a walker assisting with freezing of the gait or a disrupted walking pattern, for example relating to Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis.
What we like about Rollz:
Rollz is a walker, enabling more support, or as an aid in a rehabilitation process,
The laser line stimulates the user to start a movement, while the metronome and the vibration in the handles support the walking rhythm.
The audio cue and tactile cue can be set, run through your smartphone for a discreet prompt, or via Bluetooth from your phone to earplugs.
Large wheels and a shorter wheelbase make it very easy to steer.
Designed with ergonomic handles to reduce pressure on fingers and wrists.
Portable: Collapses easily for transport.
We like that the Rollz rollator can be easily adjusted to fit individual needs, which may vary depending on the day or time of day, for example toward the end of the day if you're tired. It's helpful to maintain exercise, social interaction, and independence.
The handles of all rollators can be set for different heights, while the footrests can be optimized to fit body structures with both short or long legs.
The backrest of the Rollz Motion and Rollz Motion Performance package can be shaped to exactly support your back necessities.
The push bar of the Rollz Flex can be positioned in multiple ways to adapt to the support you need on that day or at that moment. The three cues on the Rollz Motion Rhythm can be adapted to address different neurological symptoms.
This model could be purchased by someone who needs it, or used by a specialist or physical therapist to assist with rehabilitation programs.
9. My Therapy
Parkinson's Medication & Symptoms Tracker
MyTherapy App for Parkinson's Disease Medication & Symptom Tracker
What we like about MyTherapy:
Designed specifically for Parkinson's
The features take into account the nuances of what's important with Parkinson's, such as customized medication reminders to maintain levels (dopamine), and tracking medication taken
Helps the important need to be able to track symptoms in a journal and share them with your doctor via PDF
Helps to be prepared for medical appointments and refills
The App has more than 1k 4+ plus ratings
The value this brings can be important when you might not be aware of symptoms and nuances or want a visual record to track and share over time. It may help your doctor identify trends, adjust medication, or uncover side effects. It may also be of value during clinical trials.
The App is free to use, and you don't need to register your personal details. Read and make an informed decision about how the provider would like to share anonymous data to help in research and trials, should you consent to do so.
10. Medisafe App
Medication Reminders With PD Tracker
Medisafe app: Medication reminders with tracker
What we like about the Medisafe app:
A one-stop solution to medication management: reminds you to take your pills, keep track of your supply, drug-to-drug interaction checker, and more
The interface is easy to navigate for people with fine motor skills issues
Free to use
Medication forms a central part of the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. So taking them on time and regularly is essential for symptom management and long-term positive outcomes. What we liked about this app is that it’s packed with features — it can send pill reminders, track your progress, and even send notifications to your loved ones if you’ve forgotten to take your pills.
It’s also simple and easy to set up. So once you’re over that initial phase, you can depend on it to keep track of your pills as you focus on the more important things in your life! As an added bonus, it’s completely free to use so you can test it without any risks!
Medication Management and Organisation
Ellie Pill Organiser & MedCenter System
What we like about the MedCenter Dispenser
The MedCenter System is a combination of the MedCenter Organizer and MedCenter Talking Clock.
It caters to a monthly, 4-tablet daily dose
A loud talking alarm alerts users up to 4 times daily when it's time to take medication
Easy-set alarm clock
Color-coded red and green (red for when the day is complete)
Uses a date-of-the-month system rather than a day of the week
The pillboxes are divided into four daily compartments, morning, noon, evening, and night. Red and Green color-coding on the ends of pillboxes show when daily doses are complete. Easy-open lids on pillboxes allow for easy access to needed medications.
There are several choices for medication dispensers. Which one is right for you depends on factors like the amount of medication you're taking, your ease of remembering it, and whether you want something portable or for home.
If you want a dispenser that sets an alarm and indicates which medication it's time to take one of our favourites for less medication storage is the Ellie Monthly Pill Organiser If you would like a pocket dispenser with an alarm, try the e-Pill Pocket dispenser as another one we like.
12. PDCare Laser Light Therapy (Parkinson's)
Light Therapy device to reduce Parkinson's & Fibromyalgia symptoms
PDCare Laser Light Therapy
What we like about the PDCare product:
Uses light therapy to reduce Parkinson’s & Fibromyalgia symptoms
Hand-held, Medical-grade, Non-invasive, painless to use
Designed specifically for home use for maximum flexibility and convenience. Fully portable.
Simple large on/off button for ease of use.
Battery-powered. CE marked
Genuine reviews and positive feedback in testimonials
2-year, worldwide manufacturer warranty
An experienced, credentialed team using research refined from over 20 years of combined clinical practice and trials
SYMBYX is an Australian medical technology company developing light therapies to manage previously intractable, chronic diseases and painful, inflammation-mediated conditions.
In their Parkinson’s work, they treat primarily via the gut microbiome because through well-documented research, there is a well-established linkage between gut and brain health (the Gut-Brain-Axis). "The relationship is essential to understanding many chronic disease models, especially the origin and progression of Parkinson’s."
Made in Sweden exclusively for SYMBYX, PDCare is a hand-held, super-pulsed, medical-grade, low-level laser device of 904 nanometers.
See Research Articles in BMC Neurology here. or Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery (PPL), or visit Symbix Biome's research page here.
Photo Biomodulation Helmet
Suyzeko - Photo Biomodulation Helmet for Stroke, Parkinson's & Alzheimer's
What we like about the Suyeko Helmet:
Light therapy is considered one of the safest methods of therapy compared to other methods, such as drugs.
It may improve symptoms for people suffering from neurological conditions, ranging from depression, and anxiety to strokes to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Always consult your medical professional for guidance and safety. Individual conditions, needs, and success rates will vary.
14. Voice Amplification -
Assists with communication and hearing due to softened voice or reduced volume
ZOWEETEK Voice Amplifier with Wireless Microphone Headset
This wireless voice amplifier may be helpful if your voice is softened or has reduced volume. Speech professionals and exercises may provide some assistance to improving speech including pace, tremours, breathiness, or slurring. This amplifier is not a dedicated device for Parkinson's, but rather one used in classrooms, tours, and speaking engagements.
What we like about the Zoweetek Voice Amplifier
It's lightweight and small
Long battery life
Highly reviewed and rated in terms of clarity of sound and reach
Slightly lower priced than some other similar devices equally as well reviewed (our second choice is this one)
According to the Cleveland Clinic:
Speech difficulties (dysarthria) and voice problems are common in people with Parkinson’s disease. Of the more than seven million people with Parkinson’s disease worldwide, between 75% and 90% will develop voice and speech problems over the course of their illness.
Parkinson’s disease affects nerves and muscles that affect your speech. It affects your:
Roof of mouth, tongue, and lips.
Facial muscle movement.
Areas of the brain that control hearing and voice and speech processing.
The setting most relevant for Parkinson's could be where you have a social group and it's hard to communicate with confidence, and/or if compounded by the fact that a friend or family member is hard of hearing.
Helps to track sleep, and breathing, and the possibilities of apnea to reduce fatigue
Wellue O2 Ring
Lack of, or poor quality sleep, is known to be a key side effect or symptom of Parkinson's, due to medication, pain, related conditions like neuropathy, or stress. Sleep is also recognized, for everyone, as being core to well-being, recovery, and mental and physical health.
What we like about this device:
Simple to use, wear and read
It may be preferable to have a dedicated device if you don't want to wear a smartwatch to bed
It can track sleep quality including heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels
If your oxygen or breathing drops (eg sleep apnea - though you may want to test this with medical grade facilities and refer to your doctor), it can gently vibrate or sound an alarm to let you know to turn over. Sleep apnea can be seen in up to 40% of people with PD.
Easily sync's with your phone whenever it's within reach, and enables you to view a graph and share
This may be helpful in the early stages of Parkinson's when good sleep can improve energy, reduce fatigue and make it easier to move; or for example if you want to track sleep to better understand the impacts of medication.
According to Parkinsons.org:
A good night’s sleep is critical to our health and well-being. However, for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), sleep becomes even more important as the body needs more time to restore and repair itself. The brain changes that are part of PD can also cause sleep difficulties and some people have problems sleeping even before movement symptoms develop and PD is diagnosed.
Some PD medications can disrupt sleep. Others make people sleepy during the day. Not surprisingly, sleep-related symptoms are reported by more than 75% of people with PD.
Disrupted sleep can affect your health, mood, and overall quality of life. Furthermore, when people with PD don’t sleep well, their care partner’s sleep is disrupted, too.
Parkinsons.org have some reputable, peer-reviewed resources, guides, and factsheets on this subject here.
16. Amazon Echo Show
A smart speaker and voice assistant for daily routines, productivity, and home control
Alexa Echo Show 10
What we like about the Alexa Echo Show 10:
A reliable device providing assistance in multiple ways via a voice-driven interface which means ease of access from anywhere in reach, with accessibility settings that can be adjusted to your needs, and no typing required. Features such as
Setting reminders, and alarms for medication and managing schedules, visits and potentially home help (what's my schedule today?)
Handsfree control and command of home appliances, lights, and sensors including viewing the gate or doorbell camera and opening the door remotely when it's hard to get to the door quickly
Assistance with information, education, and resources to increase understanding such as explaining terms and conditions, such as the collaboration between Parkinson's Foundation and Amazon Alexa to improve access to Parkinson's resources
Assistance with productivity such as doing banking, ordering shopping or arranging a taxi or uber
Voice and video calling, for communication, while you are not out and about as much, busy getting things done and are able to chat during those, or if you fall and call out "Alexa, call.." - assuming you're in voice reach. If you live alone, you can always set your family to be able to "drop-in" should they be worried and you're not answering.
The Amazon Echo Show devices come in a range of sizes and features, such as the Dot without a screen, the 5, 8, or 10 with a screen, the latter having a face tracking capability) or the 15 which is more like a photo frame, a giant "to-do" board where you can pin utilities like calendars, shopping, photos, etc.
Another benefit of these devices, when your schedule feels like it's taken up with medication, exercises, or getting up in the morning - is setting routines to bring normal things into the day, such as playing relaxing music while you sleep, blasting party music from the old days, or (more responsibly:) setting routines, for example, "Good Morning", reads the day, date, weather, news headlines, sport result and reminders or scheduled items set for the day.
There is also a range of mindfulness and calming exercises, games, trivia, learning, and education if you want to experience new unrelated knowledge like science-based or climate change, and of course, if you're resting you can always watch videos from any of your favorite streaming services.
Online Parkinson's Rehabilitation Program
PD Warrior - Online Parkinson's Rehabilitation Program
What we like about the PD Warrior Program:
Designed by renowned neuro physiotherapist, Melissa McConaghy, the 10-Week Challenge is tailored specifically for Parkinson's, and tailored to the individual needs of each participant.
This rehab program is designed as a 10 Week self-guided exercise program you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Though the Program can be delivered in person in some locations, we like that it's tailored, can be combined with personal coaching, and that PD Warrior also runs a thriving online community offering a range of support material and short format exercise content to keep you motivated and update on all things related to Parkinson’s.
The program has been designed from the latest science and tested on thousands of people over the years to help get the best chance of slowing your symptom progression down.
Even if you’re a fit person who exercises regularly you can benefit from the PD Warrior way of exercise because it is specific to Parkinson’s, your symptoms, and your response to exercise.
PD Warrior has a solid base of experience, having helped 20,000 people, across 56 countries, and trained 4000 health professionals in the program delivery. Face-to-face program locations available across the world, can be found here.
According to a survey of PD Warriors, 94% of people continued exercising after the PD Warrior 10-Week Challenge had been completed and 98% of people thought that the program was worth their time. Satisfaction levels, and results from the program, appear to be strong.
Motorised Movement Training for Improved Mobility
MOTOmed Motorised Movement Training for Parkinson’s
What we like about MOTOmed:
An exercise machine to help improve mobility (e.g. increases stride length, walking speed, reduced tremors, and more)
Besides as leg trainer, the MOTOmed viva2 Parkinson is also available as leg- and arm/upper body trainer.
Uses “forced exercise” therapy — the machine has a motor to provide full or partial assistance in helping you complete the movements
Effectiveness is well-documented in the scientific literature
While there isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, exercise and physical therapy form an essential part of managing symptoms — helping you stay mobile and independent for longer. MOTOmed can give patients a way to incorporate Parkinson’s-specific exercises into their daily life through “forced exercise” therapy.
Fast forced and supported movements may help to reduce tremor (contracting muscles), improve walking ability and to conduct normal movements with more purpose. An individually adapted training program ensures effective and simple training sessions. Parkinson’s patients can use the Parkinson’s therapy “Forced Exercise” easily and daily at home.
The term “forced” is used because it has a motor that assists the user in completing the motion. You can choose to use it completely passively (meaning you let the machine do 100% of the work), with partial help, or with no assistance at all.
As with all exercises, you would usually start out with more assistance from the machine and slowly build up your strength to incorporate more of your own effort in producing the motion.
We also like that this kind of therapy has been well-tested and documented in the scientific literature. For example, this study published in Gait & Posture demonstrated that assistive forced exercise can improve Parkinson’s Disease symptoms including increasing walking speed and reducing tremors.
19. Muse Headband for Stress, Mindfulness and Meditation
Muse Heart, Brain & Body Mindfulness
Stress has been known to worsen all symptoms of Parkinson's, according to a study of 5000 Parkinson's patients by the National Library of Medicine. For this reason, in conjunction with sleep, exercise and your doctors assessment and advice, mindfulness and meditation can be of clear value. (Refer results below).
What we like about the Muse:
It's a well designed, lightweight headband that guides and measures meditation, and works via an App based interface
Provides science-led feedback via visual graphs on your brain activity via EEG
Select the Mind, Heart, Body or Breath Meditation experience you wish to be immersed in. Close your eyes and breathe—once the headband calibrates, you’ll hear the soothing sounds responding to the fluctuations of your mind and body.
Review post-session reporting in the app to stay on track with your meditation practice.
You place the headband on, and select a meditation, via heart, body or mind, and with your preferred time available (eg 5min, 15 mins) and sound scape such as forest, beach etc. The headband then calibrates, which looks like a visual picture turning from red or green as the sensors confirm they have a good fit around your head. Then the meditation begins.
At the end you can see a graph readout of your brain activity, with the goal being to have stilled your mind to a low level. If you jump up, or think busy thoughts for example, you'll see a spike. The goal is to learn to reduce the brain activity with the headband, and then gradually anytime you want to calm yourself even without. For those who find meditation hard to see progress, this is a clear picture for you.
The above 2021 study found that the effects of stress included:
People with PD scored significantly worse than those without PD in nearly every category, including anxiety, perceived stress and depressed mood.
Stress worsened all PD symptoms measured in the survey, including sleeping problems, depression, dyskinesia (involuntary movements), freezing of gait (feeling stuck in place), and bradykinesia (slowness of movement).
The PD symptom with the strongest stress effect was tremor — experienced by 81.8% of patients.
Participants with PD with higher stress levels ruminated more, scored lower on quality of life, lower in dispositional mindfulness and lower in self-compassion.
People with PD under higher levels of stress reported worse disease severity on a daily basis.
These study findings clearly suggest that people with PD experience greater levels of stress than the general population. It is of particular concern that extra sensitivity to stress translated into a significant worsening of both motor and non-motor symptoms. (Source, Parkinsons.org).
The study also concluded that exercise and mindfulness were highly beneficial and effective in reducing stress for people with Parkinson's, with benefits immediately, over time, and a potential reduced severity or reduction of other tolls on the body due to stress such as chronic disease.
Parkinson's UK has a provided tools for mindfulness and Parkinson's here.
Assisting with eating to overcome tremors or reduced arm and hand
Liftware Tremor stability devices.
What we like about the Liftware devices:
The leveling handle is designed to accommodate limited hand and arm mobility that may be related to conditions like cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, or post-stroke deficits.
The handle includes built-in sensors, a computer, and motors.
There are attachments including a spoon, fork, and travel case.
Liftware Steady electronically stabilizes so the attached utensil shakes 70%* less than your hand, enabling you to worry less about spilling and focus on enjoying your meal. *This is according to an independent study in 2013, with updated references available (2021) at the end of the research text.
The product includes two parts: a stabilizing handle and a utensil attachment. The utensil attachments can be washed in the dishwasher or cleaned by hand with a sponge, mild detergent, and warm water. The computerized handle cannot be washed in a dishwasher or submerged in water.
How does it work? The stabilizing handle contains sensors that detect hand motion and a small onboard computer that distinguishes unwanted tremors from the intended movement of the hand. To stabilize the utensil, the computer directs two motors in the handle to move the utensil attachment in the opposite direction of any detected tremor.
You can also view the video.
Additional Note: Keep an eye out for...
Cue, by Nanotech
What we liked about the progress of CUE :
We're including this to give you something to think about in the future, or to join their waitlist for updates. The product is well designed, has a strong team, reputable support, good early customer experiences, and shares trial results.
CUE a non-invasive wearable device for Parkinson’s, utilizes pulsed cueing and focused vibrotactile stimulation to reduce symptoms of slowness and stiffness resulting in improved movement. It delivers a gentle vibratory stimulus to the peripheral nervous system, producing a characteristic cortical response that eases the typical stiffness and slowness symptoms associated with Parkinson’s.
Users of CUE for Parkinson’s report feeling that movement is better controlled and they can move smoother, easier and faster whilst wearing the device.
The product is still in testing. Follow the link to learn more, and read the science, customer testimonials, and early research indications. Estimates indicate an average of 16% improvement in movement. Additional features include tracking symptoms and medication assistance.
Note; We will continue to monitor the progress of this product. Please do your own research.
Things to Consider When Buying Assistive Living Devices
Not every Parkinson’s patient is the same. We come from all walks of life and age groups with different needs and desires. So there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to selecting the best aids or devices to make living with Parkinson’s easier. To help you guide your decision-making, here are some factors to consider:
Consider what your symptoms are like. The severity and range of symptoms you’re experiencing may be different from the next person. For example, if you have severe fine motor skills issues then an app may not be suited to your needs.
Do its functions serve the needs you’re looking for? Ask yourself what exactly you’re looking for in a device or what your goals are. For example, are you looking for a holistic health device? Or something that will help with a specific aspect of your condition?
Are there any additional costs to the device? Some devices may come with an app subscription which may add to the long-term cost of using it.
Setup and long-term use logistics. Consider if you will be able to use this device independently. If not, will you be able to enlist the help of a caregiver or loved one to assist you?
New Possibilities For Living Life With Parkinson’s
With constant advancements in technology, what’s possible in the life of a person with Parkinson’s is increasing every day. We’re continually inspired to see individuals with the condition, fight the effects, increase awareness and research, participate in trials to find a cure, and live life to the fullest.
Please remember, these should not be considered life-saving devices. Always consult your Doctor, health professionals, and those closest to you. In some cases, financing or payment assistance may be available from your health insurer or via payment plans.
helloEd is a curated collection of the mainstream through to emerging, health-related technology products from across the world. We find, assess, and curate the world's technology to give you choices about what's possible, and to help you get back to doing what you love. Subscribe or contact us to ask questions or be updated when new articles are released.
helloEd is proud of the work undertaken by Shake It Up Australia Foundation — A Partner with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.