iPhone app could assess severity of Parkinson’s tremors

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed an iPhone application that may enable people with Parkinson’s disease and certain other neurological conditions to collect data on hand and arm tremors and relay the results to medical personnel.

The researchers believe the application could replace subjective tests now used to assess the severity of tremors, while potentially allowing more frequent patient monitoring without costly visits to medical facilities.

The program — known as iTrem — could be offered later this year by the App Store, the Apple website that sells iPhone applications. But iTrem will first undergo a clinical study at Emory University and must receive any required approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration.

ITrem’s developers are working with the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to form a start-up company based on iTrem and future applications that might take advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities.

ATDC is a start-up accelerator based at Georgia Tech that helps Georgia entrepreneurs launch and build successful technology companies.

‘We expect iTrem to be a very useful tool for patients and their caregivers,’ said Brian Parise, a research scientist who worked on the app along with Robert Delano, another GTRI research scientist. ‘And as a downloadable application, it also promises to be convenient and cost effective.’