Patients with Parkinson's disease are being encouraged to use online self-reporting methods to help progress research into the condition.
A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted a study into the clinical value of symptoms reported online, on a social media-type website.
Their research has been published in the latest edition of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The team, led by Professor Max Little, produced a set of criteria based on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, which patients used to quantify their symptoms.
According to Professor Little, this method will be invaluable when assessing the effectiveness of new treatments for the disease.
Currently, there is very little data surrounding how the condition progresses in intervals smaller than three months.
When evaluating the data provided by the patients involved in the study, Professor Little noted there is evidence to suggest the severity of symptoms can vary between patients and develop at significantly different rates. This is in contrast to the "current clinical picture of gradual, smooth changes."
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