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Home-Based Study Shows that Wearable Sensors can Measure Activity and Disability in People with MS

December 20, 2019

Researchers showed that biosensors – small devices worn on the wrist, ankle and chest –provided information on movement and daily activities that aligned with standard scales used by neurologists to measure MS disability. The ability to monitor people with MS in their home environments may improve the management of changes in disease course. This team is led by Tanuja Chitnis, MD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston).
  • Biosensors are noninvasive devices that can measure parameters such as heart rate and body temperature, as well as aspects of gait (how a person stands or turns while they walk). In this study, machine learning – computer programs using artificial intelligence – was used to analyze the findings and compare them with the results of standard scales used to measure disability such as the EDSS.
  • In this study, 25 participants wore biosensors during three clinic visits and an 8-week program at home. Of these individuals, 23 wore the sensors for 2 of 3 clinic visits and the entire 8-week home program, indicating that wearable biosensors are a feasible method of collecting information.
  • Unlike other biosensor studies in MS, this study did not just collect information on movement, but also on passive daily life activities, even during sleep.
  • “Quantifying neurologic disease using biosensor measurements in-clinic and in free-living settings in MS” was published December 11, 2019 in Digital Medicine (Nature Partner Journals).

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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