As more and more neurologists turn to telemedicine for routine patient visits, I expect we’ll see more of the type of technology being developed here. This group is working on something that goes further than what I’ve seen before: wearable sensors to detect neuromuscular problems and machine learning to report the appearance of new symptoms. Developers say the medical-grade system will be user-friendly and have a low cost. That sounds like the trifecta to me.
The University of Alberta and PROTXX are collaborating to develop wearable sensors for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and advance a remote healthcare platform that facilitates personalized care and reduces frequency of hospital visits.
The wearable sensors will help monitor neurological, sensory, and musculoskeletal symptoms without the need to wear bulky equipment or make frequent in-office visits. They will operate using a machine learning algorithm that is trained to detect new symptoms of the disease, based on the detection of neuromuscular impairments.
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This study attempts to answer a significant question that people with MS have been asking for several months: Will using a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) increase the risk of a severe case of COVID-19? In short, the answer is probably not.
In this French study, the percentage of patients with severe COVID-19 was actually higher among those who had never been treated with a DMT. But information about this novel coronavirus is constantly changing, and concerns not noted in this study are that some of the more effective DMTs — those that deplete the immune system — may require careful consideration before being used. As with all DMT decisions, deciding whether to modify a treatment should be a collaboration between your neurologist and you. That’s true now more than ever.
However, MS patients who are older, obese, or have severe neurological impairments have a greater risk of developing a severe form of the disease.
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