NeuroQWERTY is a device created by nQ Medical that is meant to monitor brain health and the progression of the disease in those with Parkinson’s. It has recently been granted the breakthrough device designation by the FDA, which is exciting for those at nQ Medical and those with Parkinson’s disease.
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by its effect on movement through five different stages. As the disease progresses, severity increases. Stage one is characterized by subtle tremors on one side of the body. In stage two symptoms are more noticeable, with tremors and rigidity on both sides of the body. Stage three brings loss of balance and slow movement, while stage four makes it impossible for one to live independently. Stage five is the most severe, as patients cannot stand or walk. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this stage.
Parkinson’s disease occurs due to the death of motor neurons, some of which produce dopamine. Dopamine is important in the transmittance of messages to the muscles from the brain, so the loss of dopamine results in the loss of motor functions. Abnormal brain activity occurs when these neurons are lost and leads to Parkinson’s. Doctors do not know why these motor neurons die, but they do suspect a few factors that play a role, such as genetics, environmental factors like toxins, and Lewy bodies.
There are no FDA approved therapies for Parkinson’s, and treatment is symptomatic. Treatment options include dopamine substitutes, carbidopa-levodopa, MAO-B inhibitors, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors, anticholinergics, and amantadine.
NeuroQWERTY is a software that can be used with a smartphone, keyboard, or tablet. It measures the speed and pressure of the fingers of the person typing, allowing it to detect if there are changes in either of these things. Not only does this device allow around-the-clock monitoring for medical professionals, but it may also help to diagnose those with neurodegenerative diseases. For those worried about it recording the words that are being typed, nQ Medical assures them that it only tracks the movements of typing themselves, not the words.
This device has also been studied in multiple clinical trials, one of which has evaluated the disease in at home settings. Another assessed the connection of GABA mutations to Parkinson’s disease. Other trials have been conducted to study the use of this device with other disorders, such as ALS and multiple sclerosis.
Medical professionals are excited by both the results and the new designations for neuroQWERTY. They hope that this device will improve many aspects of Parkinson’s disease care, from diagnosis to treatment.
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