Progress towards Apple Watch based tracking of symptoms

An app that links to Apple Watch technology has been granted FDA approval to help monitor some motor symptoms experienced by people with Parkinson’s.

The app is called StrivePD and is developed by American software company Rune Labs. It links to special software on the Apple Watch that aims to automatically capture information on things like movement, sleep and tremor. It also allows users to manually input information about symptoms and medication.

The intention is for this data to then be used by healthcare professionals to see how the person’s movement has changed in the time since their last medical appointment. 

What does FDA approval mean?

The decision made by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) means that the software is now officially approved for use by anyone with Parkinson’s in the US who has a relevant device.

While this is not available in the UK at the moment, there are a number of UK trials assessing the potential of wrist-worn devices to track and monitor symptoms.

Find out more about one such trial that is actively looking for people to help try out a device. 

Dr Becky Jones, Research Communications Officer at Parkinson’s UK, said:
"The FDA’s decision to grant approval for this type of data collection shows how research of this kind is gaining in importance.

"Apps like these have the potential to help with the day to day management of Parkinson’s as well as improving future clinical studies. By constantly monitoring changes in movement, it could be possible to better understand how someone is adapting to a new medication. The data might also help researchers design clinical trials by making sure they enrol the right people, based on their experiences.

"In the UK, we look forward to more results from the range of ongoing studies assessing how devices can be used to monitor both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. It is vital that research evidence underpins the use of such technology to ensure data collection is accurate and used in a consistent way. Only then will it have the most impact for the 145,000 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the UK."