"There have been innovations in the use of technology to assess people with Parkinson’s, predominantly with mobile or wearable devices. However, there is a project in Bristol called SPHERE (Sensor Platform for Healthcare in a Residential Environment - www.irc-sphere.ac.uk) which could enhance what is currently known. The SPHERE house in Bristol is a two-bedroom fully-furnished house which has been adapted to be used as a home-like living-lab. Various sensors (static and mobile) in the house monitor aspects of the real life of people who stay there. SPHERE has the capacity to capture a fuller picture of the fluctuations in a person’s health and to view the real life context in which symptoms occur. SPHERE can potentially also quantify non-movement aspects of Parkinson’s such as sleep problems, and day-to-day activities, which are not well-measured by existing technologies. Recruiting volunteers through CPT, the Bristol team intend to begin workshops this Spring, allowing further refining of Artificial Intelligence programmes, that objectively quantify a person’s performance in performing everyday tasks such as cooking a meal. Thus, turning raw data from in-home sensors into meaningful and valid scores grading a person’s ability to conduct - the business of daily life. The next step, intended to commence this Autumn, will be applying these programmes to data gathered whilst people free live in SPHERE house for a week. Thereafter, the intention is that free-living house sensors will be deployed to the homes of People with Parkinson’s to track changes over a year, before, hopefully, trialling this approach as an exploratory endpoint to reliably quantify benefits in performing activities of daily living in a clinical trial testing a potential neuroprotective agent.

Alan Whone – Consultant Senior Lecturer in Movement Neuroscience, University of Bristol and Consultant Neurologist, North Bristol Trust.

The team in Bristol are keen for people with Parkinson's, their families and carers to get involved and help them with the sensors study design and methodology. Your views will help shape and develop this pioneering project.

Please read this downloadable document about the project then complete the survey below. Thank you.