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Rune Labs’ Apple Watch Parkinson’s tracking approved by FDA

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(Pocket-lint) – A tool that aims to help people with Parkinson’s disease track symptoms through their Apple Watch has received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Able to automatically track things such as tremors, as well as allow patients to enter symptoms and medication usage, neurology company Rune Labs’ StrivePD software now has official permission to track the disease using the smartwatch.

This, in turn, will allow clinicians to check in on the progress of patients and spot trends in their symptoms without having to rely on the patient’s own recollection or an in-person physical exam.

Some patients have already been using the software for around a year, with this FDA approval meaning that the findings can be used as part of clinical trial data for Parkinson’s disease treatments.

Interestingly, Rune Labs has been developing the software for a number of years, too. Harnessing Apple’s Movement Disorder API in ResearchKit, first launched back in 2018, it’s now become the first company to make use of this tool as part of a commercial application.

However, as Rune Labs founder Brian Pepin has noted in a blog post previously, the Apple Watch’s Movement Disorder API also isn’t perfect just yet. 

“Of course, there are limitations to Apple’s Movement Disorder kit: tremor and dyskinesia are only two symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease, and the classifiers themselves are not yet perfect,” they said.

As we recently saw through Apple’s WWDC event, though, the applications of the smartwatch are improving all the time. As an example, AFib History – a feature that provides those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation with deeper insights into their heart rhythms – will release later this year as part of watchOS 9.

We expect, then, that this won’t be the last we hear from Rune Labs or Parkinson’s disease tracking through the Apple Watch.

Writing by Conor Allison.





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