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New technology provides new tools for Parkinson's patients

Advancements in medicine and technology have given doctors more resources than ever when it comes to diagnosing and treating illnesses. These new tools can help people live more independent lives and cope with an illness in such a way that their daily lives are less affected by their condition.

Parkinson's disease is one such disabling condition that can dramatically upset a person's lifestyle and wellness. It is a progressive condition that continues to get worse over time, and there is no cure at this time. However, technology is providing patients with some new resources that may be able to improve diagnoses and treatments. 

According to an article in The Motley Fool, Google Glass and the Apple iPhone are being used to detect Parkinson's disease more easily and help patients cope with certain symptoms as the disease progresses. A third device has also been developed by Medtronic to stimulate or block certain nerves that are transmitting problematic signals in Parkinson's patients.

Google Glass and the iPhone are both devices that are already in use for consumer purposes. While Google Glass is still in the testing phase, it is quickly showing signs that it could be very beneficial for users. In regards to Parkinson's patients, reports indicate that Glass, which consists of a pair of glasses equipped with a small computer screen in the corner, can send visual messages to wearers. The messages can provide Parkinson's patients with reminders to take medication or alerts that they need to swallow or speak up.

The iPhone is already equipped with a number of features that can benefit Parkinson's patients. There are apps available that can help patients modify their speech to be clearer and an app to help detect tremors.

The third device is the Activa Neurostimulator, which is described as a "brain pacemaker." The device is implanted in a patient and has wires that are connected to the brain. A doctor can then adjust the settings to disrupt signals that cause motor skills to react improperly.

As technologically advanced and futuristic as these devices may seem, the truth is that they are already in use and show evidence that they can work to support people with Parkinson's disease. With continued research and testing, hopefully these can help patients cope with their illness and manage their symptoms to help them lead a more normal lifestyle for as long as possible. 

Source: The Motley Fool, "3 Incredibly Ways Technology Can Help Treat Parkinson's Disease," Leo Sun, May 4, 2014

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