Research app for Parkinson's patients launched

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Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit biomedical research organization, and researchers have debuted Parkinson mPower, an iPhone app-based study of symptom variation in Parkinson's disease. The study is sponsored by Sage with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

By using new ResearchKit software, participants can easily complete tasks or submit surveys right from the app. mPower runs on Sage Bionetworks' Bridge server platform.

The goal is for the app to provide anecdotal data that can be turned into signals and ways to intervene. Tasks are designed to assess patients' tremor, balance, gait, vocalization and memory.

“We know that Parkinson's disease symptoms fluctuate over the course of a day, or a week, but that has never been measured objectively,” said Ray Dorsey, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Co-Director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The mPower study will enable us to learn from patients, and we'll be able to give information back to patients so they can manage their conditions regardless of where they live and regardless of their mobility.”