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Michael J Fox pledges £100,000 to UK university to…

Back to the Future star Michael J Fox has pledged £100,000 in funding towards the development of a new app for monitoring Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

The Hollywood actor, who lives with the long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, has given the money to a University of London researcher.

It is hoped that the six-figure funding will allow the app-based concept, which can record symptoms of sufferers and monitor their progression, to be rolled out.   

The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), created in 2000, has dished out more than $750 million (£530m) in research funding.

Michael J Fox will provide funding to a student from Birkbeck´s School of Business, Economics and Informatics (Ian West/PA)

Fox, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s in 1991 aged 29, is hopeful that scientists can eventually discover a cure for the disease.

His latest investment has gone to Professor George Roussos, from Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics.

He developed smartphone and wearable-device apps in 2013 that are able to record Parkinson’s sufferers’ motor symptoms.

The app was designed to be used by patients at home, allowing them to record their own movements – such as by tapping their smartphone screen to assess their speed reflexes, or by placing the phone on their knee to measure tremors.

The data recorded by the phone’s sensors would then be used to calculate the severity of a symptom, using the clinical Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).

The funding from the foundation will enable Professor Roussos to develop a software toolkit that would be used to analyse data from his cloudUPDRS apps, which researchers will use towards clinical assessments.

The app is currently undergoing clinical trials at University College London Hospitals, and the toolkit extension will be released freely to the Parkinson’s disease research community to support therapeutic development research and clinical trials.

Professor Roussos said monitoring a Parkinson’s patient’s progression required very frequent testing of their motor symptoms, which could be affected by their diet and exercise regime, as well as by social interactions.

The app would enable patients to help researchers collect the data needed to monitor their own symptoms and benefit wider research into the disease.

He said: ‘The toolkit will help us develop clinical measures that could lead to early identification of problems such as side-effects from medications and individualised patient profiles that help with personalised assessment.’

Parkinson’s disease, which claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammed Ali in 2016, affects one in 500 people and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition. Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.  

WHAT IS PARKINSON’S? THE INCURABLE DISEASE THAT STRUCK BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI

Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.

Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.  

The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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