Sensors to prevent Parkinson’s patients from falling

New EIT Health research project launched on telemedical analysis of gait and falls.

Analysing the gait of a Parkinson’s patient with inertial sensors. Kurt Fuchs

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg March 14, 2018

A groundbreaking project for Parkinson’s patients from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Health (EIT Health) titled ‘MoveIT’ has now been launched under the lead of the Molecular-Neurological Department at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen in collaboration with researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and other European partners. Using telemedicine based on sensors placed in patients’ shoes and attached to their upper body, researchers aim to analyse specific characteristics in the patient’s gait and when they fall.

‘In future, patients or carers will be able to be warned in time if a certain gait pattern indicates that a fall is likely’, says lead researcher Prof. Dr. Jochen Klucken from the Molecular-Neurological Department at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The data gathered as part of the telemedical home monitoring solution is also to be made available for use in further research projects for the interdisciplinary care of Parkinson’s patients based on medical engineering approaches. The project is planned to run for one year and has received funding of 500,000 euros from EIT Health.

‘MoveIT’ is just one of a number of research projects conducted by the consortium led by Prof. Klucken from the Molecular-Neurological Department at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and Prof. Dr. Björn Eskofier, Chair for Machine Learning and Data Analysis (Heisenberg professor) at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg aimed at designing new digital care concepts for Parkinson’s. These include another two EIT projects and a project funded by the Medical Valley Award (FallRiskPD) for assessing the risk of falls.

The new EIT health project is to be run in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) Erlangen, headed by Christian Weigand, in order to create the required IT infrastructure for improved communication between doctors, therapists, patients and technology and provide the best possible patient care.

Other regional and European partners involved in the project are the University of Luxembourg, Radboudumc university medical center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Philips Research ITTM S.A. and Portabiles HealthCare Technologies GmbH (HCT). ‘By working with various partners we are able to incorporate experience from other EU countries and the private sector into the digital medicine we are developing as part of our project’, explains Prof. Klucken.

With more than 140 partners from 17 European countries, EIT Health is one of the largest health initiatives in the world. FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg is a core partner in the EIT Health consortium. The Fraunhofer IIS is also involved as an associate member. The aim of EIT Health is to promote research, entrepreneurial thinking and innovation in the areas of healthy living and active ageing, thereby improving the quality of life, medical care and the health sector throughout Europe.
The EIT Health initiative aims to develop innovative products, education services and other services to contribute to solving demographic challenges and optimising healthcare in Europe. With a total project volume of more than 2 billion euros, up to 700 million of which comes from funding, ETI Health is one of the largest publicly funded health initiatives in the world. The project is set to receive 80 million euros of annual funding over the next seven to fifteen years.

Source Friedrich-Alexander-Universität FAU


Stride segmentation during free walk movements using multi-dimensional subsequence dynamic time warping on inertial sensor data, Barth J, Oberndorfer C, Pasluosta C, Schülein S, Gassner H, Reinfelder S, Kugler P, Schuldhaus D, Winkler J, Klucken J, Eskofier BM. Sensors (Basel). 2015 Mar 17;15(3):6419-40. doi: 10.3390/s150306419.

Also see
Smartphone ‘Scores’ Can Help Doctors Track Severity of Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms Johns Hopkins University
Augmented reality app may aid patients with Parkinson’s Rice University

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