New wearable tremor suppression gloves may hold huge benefits for Parkinson’s disease patients

March 2, 2018

A new prototype for wearable tremor suppression gloves has a team of Western University researchers believing real change is on the way for the more than 6 million people in the world afflicted by Parkinson’s disease.

Ana Luisa Trejos, an Electrical and Computer Engineering professor at Western, and members of her Wearable Biomechatronics Laboratory Group have developed a novel approach for designing wearable technology that allows those with Parkinson’s to exhibit improved motor control while reducing or even restricting involuntary muscle contractions commonly associated with the long-term and degenerative neurological disorder. More than 25 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease have an associated action tremor.

Previous studies from Trejos and her team show suppression devices targeting elbows or wrists often produce exaggerated tremors in the fingers, which causes even more difficulty for those with Parkinson’s.

” If you have seen anybody with Parkinson’s that has tremors, they have them in their entire body but it’s the ones in their fingers that really prevent them from performing the activities of daily living,” explains Trejos, also a key investigator at Western’s Bone and Joint Institute.

Instead of suppressing tremors, which is what most other tremor suppression devices do, these new personalized gloves actually track voluntary movement so if a person is trying to accomplish a particular task, the glove allows the action to happen while minimizing the tremor.

“Our gloves don’t suppress all movements, which is what most other wearable tech systems do,” says Trejos. “They are either suppressing or not suppressing movement so when a person is trying to perform a specific task, the devices actually prevent them from performing the action they are trying to perform. They have to act against it. Our gloves actually allow the voluntary movement to happen and at the same time, prevent the tremor from occurring.”

The new gloves will be custom designed for both hands of each patient to maximize the benefits of the wearable technology. The prototype was created specifically for the left hand of Western doctoral student Yue Zhou, who 3D-printed its key components. Mary Jenkins from Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Michael Naish from Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Western also collaborated on the project.

“While collecting data, we have seen first-hand that people with Parkinson’s get really frustrated when they can’t do something on their own and I feel our glove will allow them to get back to their daily living,” says Trejos. “It can be very frustrating to not be able to eat or button a shirt on your own. Or even draw. Things we take for granted. By creating a glove that allows people to perform these actions while suppressing the tremors, I think they could go back to being much more independent in their own homes for a far longer period of time.”

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New wearable tech from Western may hold big benefits for people with Parkinson’s

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2 Comments

  1. Rosalyn GregoryMarch 29, 2018

    I was diagnosed five years ago at the age of 51. I had symptoms for 3-4 years prior to that but did not know anything about Parkinson’s. I first noticed a slight twitch in my left hand, finger and thumb, which became pill rolling. We attended a lot of sports events and I would lose my balance in the moving crowd. I then started seeing a neurologist. I started falling a lot when losing my balance and had a hard time walking normal. I finally froze up in the doorway at church. I told my Neuro and he said that I had Parkinson’s. Started me on entacapone,levodopa, carbidopa, and pramipexole and I still didn’t feel or get better January 2017 my neurologist and I decided to go with natural treatment and was introduced to Green House Herbal Clinic natural Parkinson’s disease Herbal formula, i had a total decline of symptoms with this Parkinson’s Herbal formula treatment. Visit Green House Herbal Clinic official web-site ww w. greenhouseherbalclinic. com. The tremors, Shaking, Joint Stiffness and other symptoms has subsided.  I am very pleased with this treatment. I feel very well now and exercise regularly, sometimes i totally forget i ever had Parkinson’s,Don’t give up hope, fellow sufferers. Share with friends!!

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  2. Shirley KlassenJuly 25, 2018

    The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, horrible driving skills, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped.

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