MC10 and University of Vermont Establish Partnership to Study Gait Impairment in Huntington’s, other Movement Disorders
The partnership will combine MC10’s BioStamp nPoint device to measure physical parameters (biometrics) obtained from the lower limbs with the University of Vermont’s biomedical engineering and data science capacity.
The goal of the partnership is to produce methods that will allow gait patterns to be quantitatively tracked, and any changes in patterns to be analyzed in a number of different disorders, including Huntington’s Disease.
Researchers at the University of Vermont will use BioStamp nPoint to develop novel ways to track symptom progression in neurological disorders outside of the laboratory.
People with Huntington’s disease exhibit involuntary movements, which include akathisia (restlessness), dystonia (muscle spasms in the arms, head or trunk), and chorea (brief and abrupt movements that are irregular and unpredictable). As the disease progresses, these involuntary movements tend to occur more often and become more extreme.
“Movement disorders, particularly Huntington’s Disease, are understudied and need better characterization. I am hopeful that the outcomes of this collaboration will lead to a deeper understanding of gait pathology and progression in movement disorders with the potential to positively impact future therapies and the quality of life for patients with these conditions,” Ryan McGinnis, assistant professor at the University of Vermont and the lead researcher in this collaboration said in a press release.
The device consists of rechargeable, reusable body sensors that can record data for up to 24 hours. The data can be collected from patients at home or in a clinical setting.
The system can measure, record and display general activity, postural classifications, vital signs and sleep metrics, with clinically validated accuracy. It includes a smartphone app for in-home use (MC10 Link App) to help patients through sensor application or specific tasks; and a tablet app for in-clinic use (MC10 Investigator App) that allows for patient management and sensor command and control.
“One’s ability or inability to walk has long been recognized as a key aspect of their health status. Recent advances in objective gait analysis have led to metrics such as gait speed being described as the ‘sixth vital sign,’” said Arthur Combs, MC10’s chief medical officer.
“In the past, evaluation of gait impairment has largely been subjective, instantaneous, and assessed in a laboratory. The use of BioStamp nPoint will allow researchers to monitor a patient’s gait continuously as they go about their daily lives enabling a better understanding of the patient’s health status,” he added.