Imperial College London, UK: infrastructure for outcomes modelling
Novel enabling infrastructure for outcomes monitoring: dynamic remote performance capture to assess disability in progressive multiple sclerosis
Principal Investigator: Paul Matthews, M.D., Ph.D.
Institution: Imperial College London
Country: United Kingdom
Amount Awarded: €74,995
Development of new medicines for progressive MS is difficult in part because measures of disability are insensitive to the smaller changes that may be meaningful to a person with MS. People with MS also appreciate changes in their symptoms on a day-to-day basis that are not well captured in periodic, single tests done as part of clinic visits. The popularity of small movement sensing devices called “actigraphs” that allow activity to be continuously tracked, stored and then downloaded onto a computer provides an illustration of one of the kinds of technology that might help. This team proposes to conduct a pilot study to determine if actigraphs can provide a useful tool to measure and track disability in people with progressive MS. If these devices could be adapted for use for people with MS, doctors and researchers would be able to understand how people are performing in their homes, offices and communities and get a real-time sense of outcomes from treatments.
What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?
Providing real-time information about symptoms and disability progression can help to track the course of MS and determine the effectiveness of treatments designed to stop progression.
The team assembled an actigraphy system allowing individual calibration of walking speed for people with MS. They selected the Axivity AX3 tri-axial accelerometers, which records data simultaneously across three dimensions. Because acceleration data with forward steps are inaccurate where disability is present, they developed a system that allows personalization data and synchronization during a routine clinical follow up visit. A smartphone app was developed for the remote capture of data. The software remotely reports position (represented on a Google map) and speed from GPS data, which was uploaded to a web-hosted panel. A WikiHealth platform also allowed for upload of the actigraphy and position data using a data visualization screen. This visual mapping screen will be used for presentation of data upon completion of the project. Future work involves a cross sectional study relating actigraphy measures to current standard measures of disability, such as EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale, Kurtzke).
Principal Investigator Paul M. Matthews
Paul M. Matthews, MD, DPhil, FMedSci, earned his BA (Hon) and his DPhil in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford. He completed medical school and an internship in Medicine at Stanford University, followed by a residency in neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University. He subsequently undertook post-doctoral and further clinical training in Oxford, before academic positions at McGill and Oxford. He now conducts research focusing on therapeutics development and optimization of medicine use in multiple sclerosis. His work in translational neuroimaging has led to honors including being made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and to election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
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