An application on the Apple platform could improve care management for people with Parkinson’s disease. The StrivePD app is designed to track symptoms, which it can then relay to the patient’s medical team. Such in-depth data could help neurologists determine treatment efficacy and make timely adjustments.
Rune Labs, the creator of StrivePD, was recently cleared by the FDA to retrieve measurement data on patient symptoms from Apple Watches—which means access to the system is set to expand.
Available on the Apple Store, StrivePD for iPhone offers numerous support for people with Parkinson’s, including a medication reminder and log, a symptom and side effect tracker, an activity and energy log that provides feedback and insights, and reports that can be forwarded to a person’s medical team. The app can be used by patients or caregivers to manually record data, but to access the full functionality of the application – including digital measurements made by Apple’s Movement Disorder API – it’s necessary to use it on an Apple Watch worn by the person with Parkinson’s.
Those who want to try the Apple Watch version will need to join a waiting list for now. According to the company’s website, those who are eligible will be sent a watch to operate the app. With FDA clearance, patients who already own Apple Watches will also be able to access the app and connect to their care team in the near future.
The StrivePD app for the Apple Watch also pairs with Medtronic’s Percept PC Deep Brain Stimulator—an implant that documents brain activity and delivers treatments for Parkinson’s symptoms such as tremors, seizures and muscle contractions. Users of the device are able to transmit its data directly to their neurologist via the app as well.
Aura Oslapas, the creator of the mobile app and a patient with Parkinson’s, explained in a release how the data it compiled helped her get her own implant:
“Being able to show my neurologist how my motor symptoms were fluctuating, thanks to StrivePD, was the impetus for me to get surgery for a deep brain stimulation device.”
Using Apple Watch measurements, the app is able to track motor symptoms such as tremors, dyskinesia, falls and changes in how the person walks. This data can help their neurologist determine how well treatments are working and potentially even assist those who have begun to show the early warning signs of Parkinson’s but do not yet meet the criteria for diagnosis. Prodromal patients and those with hereditary risk factors could even preserve some quality of life through the use of the app because early diagnosis and intervention can lessen future symptoms.
Oslapas explained how the collected data can assist prescribing doctors as well:
“When people with Parkinson’s are prescribed new medications, adjusting how much to take and when to take it until they find something that works can be a lengthy process,” she said. “StrivePD helps people to track their symptoms and improvements, accelerating the time to an optimal medication schedule.”
The app tracks insights on sleep, activity levels and vitals—which can be helpful to both the person with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. Summaries can assist caregivers with medication management as well, whether they’re in charge of all med passes or act as a support so the patient can maintain some independence in that area.
Like mobility aids and other products designed for accessibility, apps can be useful tools for persons living with Parkinson’s and caregivers alike. Unfortunately, Android users do not have access to StrivePD right now. Other options are available on the Google Play Store, but they do not have the same extensive functionality that comes from pairing with an Apple smartwatch.
Parkinson’s disease resources
- The American Parkinson’s Disease Association provides a Symptom Tracker that can share data with the person’s physicians.
- Parkinson’s Disease Diary includes medication reminders as well as a log to track symptoms.
- CogniFit Inc.’s Parkinson’s Cognitive Research and the Parkinson’s Institute are Android apps available for patients interested in participating in studies related to the disease.
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or are a caregiver for someone who has, you may wish to purchase an Apple device to gain access to the StrivePD app. Here are some great options:
From the latest generation of Apple Watches, the Series 7 with GPS and cellular is arguably the best smartwatch available. It comes with all of the bells and whistles, including water resistance, GPS and cellular capability, and an Always-On Retina display that makes it easy to read. This watch monitors blood oxygen levels and heart rhythm, and even alerts the wearer of irregular heart activity. There is also on-demand electrocardiogram technology and fall detection that can call for assistance.
If the idea of making phone calls from a watch isn’t quite your senior’s cup of tea, this Series 7 comes without cellular capability—and at a lower price point. It still has all the same capabilities that will allow it to run the StrivePD app.
It might not be as fancy as the Series 7, but the SE version is definitely more affordable. Also water-resistant, it comes with the same tracking technology and can call for help in the event of a fall.
Seniors on a budget will appreciate this older generation smartwatch. While low in cost, it boasts water resistance, a retina display, emergency assistance and a heart-rate monitor with optical heart sensor.
Caregivers who want to use the StrivePD app to track their senior’s symptoms and medications will need an iPhone. The latest version comes with a 5.4-inch display on the mini or a 6.1-inch display on the standard size model. Savings are available with trade-in (iPhones 8 and newer).
The iPhone SE is another good option for caregivers. This affordable option has many of the same health applications as the Apple Watch.