Dementia Gloves to be piloted in Leeds Teaching Hospitals
Researchers at LTHT are aiming to employ the state-of-the-art techniques used by Hollywood film-makers to make advances in medicine. In a trial at Leeds General Infirmary, patients with Parkinson’s disease will be asked to wear special gloves containing motion sensors to track their movements in a simple test. It is hoped the technology will help them pinpoint subtle changes in movement invisible to the human eye in those developing dementia linked to the illness. Around 127,000 people in the UK suffer from Parkinson’s disease and each year around 10% go on to develop dementia.
Experts currently carry out a series of memory tests to diagnose Parkinson’s related dementia but often these are performed when the condition has already developed. Now it is hoped to be able to make a diagnosis earlier using the so-called “dementia glove”.
The work is part of research in Leeds to tackle neurological illnesses, among them dementia, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, which it is hoped will be significantly expanded by the £2m Yorkshire Brain Research Centre appeal launched earlier this year by the LTHT Charitable Foundation. Jane Alty, a consultant neurologist with an interest in movement disorders including Parkinson’s, based at Leeds General Infirmary, said the glove measured movement in precise detail as patients performed a simple reachand grasp test to lift up a beaker and put it down.“If we could predict dementia, it would be useful for patients to have that prognosis early and give them the right access to treatment. The changes in movement are very subtle and you can’t immediately see them with the naked eye but the glove has movement sensors which picks them up.” The Yorkshire Brain Research Centre appeal aims to develop the range and breadth of research in Leeds by recruiting more staff and building infrastructure