Current Research

Current Parkinson's Disease Research

Current Parkinson's Disease Research

Mapping Parkinson's Disease Needs and Services

What is the project about?

An exciting new HRB-funded (Patrick Quinn Award) research project is kicking off at UCC. This project will be 1) estimating the prevalence and incidence of Parkinson's in Ireland, 2) mapping and evaluating the range of available health services for people with Parkinson's across the country, and 3) exploring the unmet needs of people with Parkinson's and their (and their family carers') perspectives on health service access and provision.

The data collected during this project will provide vital information for important decision-makers in the HSE and Department of Health, to inform service planning and development.

Who is leading the project?

This project is led by principal investigator Dr Suzanne Timmons, who is a Consultant Geriatrician and senior lecturer at University College Cork. Dr Timmons says “this research will help us understand how we can improve services, to support people with Parkinson’s in Ireland to live healthier and better quality lives”.

Joe Condon of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland (PAI), is the ‘public and patient involvement’ Co-Lead on this project. Importantly, the project team also includes a person with Parkinson’s disease, Tony Wilkinson, who is a vocal advocate for people with Parkinson’s nationally. Tony will act as a co-researcher with us, to make sure the research asks and answers the important questions.

Why is this research important?

We know that there has not been enough investment made in healthcare services to improve care for people with Parkinson’s in Ireland. For example, services are under-provided in certain areas, particularly rurally. Where services do exist, under-resourcing can be a significant problem, such as under-staffing and waiting lists. This situation can have negative effects on people with Parkinson’s, in terms of their wellbeing and quality of life. It can also lead to more hospital admissions, which might have been avoided if services in the community were better able to provide the right care and support, at the right time.

National Survey

Below is a link to the National Survey we are currently conducting, focused on people with Parkinson's and their experience of health service access and use:

https://forms.gle/jiCLafAHVMbReE7i6 

 

We are also conducting telephone interviews with people with Parkinson's about their healthcare experiences.

 

Contact us

If you would like further information on any aspect of this study, please contact the project manager, Dr Emma O’ Shea:

Email: emma.oshea@ucc.ie  Mobile: 0860354526

 

OR 

 

Research assistant: Aphie Rukundo

Email: aphie.rukundo@ucc.ie

Introducing Wearable Technology into Parkinson’s Disease Care

What is the project about?

This project is assessing the potential role of wearable technology in the treatment of people with Parkinson’s Disease, especially those living in remote areas. We have two main goals. First, we want to understand what design features are important to people with Parkinson’s Disease – can we design a device that suits their needs? Second, we will evaluate the accuracy of existing devices to measure hand motor functions in people with Parkinson’s Disease. With this information, we hope to develop a novel wearable device that can accurately measure hand motor function and relay that information back to Parkinson’s Disease specialists.

 

Why is this research important?

Wearable technology has the potential to provide rich data to Parkinson’s Disease specialists who can use that information to modify treatment plans and monitor rehabilitation. Continuous monitoring can identify subtle changes in motor function, sleep, and activity and instantly alert users and their healthcare providers. Wearable technologies can bridge the information gap between clinics and patients by reducing the burden of writing symptom diaries and the burden of frequently traveling to clinics. Healthcare providers can use the information to fine tune medications and monitor the progression of the disease.

 

What are the devices?

Wrist-worn motion sensor: this type of device captures information about steps, tremor, activity, speed of movement, and sleep. It could be used to monitor overall health, activity levels, and wearing off of medication.

Glove: we are testing if this device can accurately measure tremor, finger stiffness, and speed of movement. It could be used to monitor changes in fine motor movements over time.

 

Who is involved?

The EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme is funding this project. Researchers at the Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation at UCC and Tyndall Institute in Cork are executing the research.

People with Parkinson’s Disease are volunteering their time to the research by testing the devices and providing feedback.

 

Recruitment

This research could not be conducted without the input of people with Parkinson’s Disease. Each device must be thoroughly tested on people with Parkinson’s disesae before it is ready for implementation. Each new volunteer provides the opportunity to fine tune the system that little bit more.

If you would like further information about our research, or if you are interested in participating, please contact Lorna Kenny or Kevin Moore at the Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation.

Email: lorna.kenny@ucc.ie; kevin.moore@ucc.ie

 

Parkinsons Disease Research Cluster

Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Western Gate Building, University College Cork, Ireland.

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