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Google Glass 'could help Parkinson's disease patients'

Google Glass 'could help Parkinson's disease patients'
16th April 2014

A group of researchers are analysing how Google Glass devices could be used to help people with Parkinson's disease.

Experts at Newcastle University have suggested the Google product could help patients remain independent for longer.

They have been studying a group of individuals aged between 46 and 70 who have Parkinson's, two of whom have spoken about their experiences.

Partners Ken Booth - a 56-year-old who was diagnosed in 1991 - and Lynn Tearse, a 46-year-old who was told the news in 2008, were some of the earliest volunteers to try out Google Glass.

Mr Booth said: "They're just fantastic. The potential for someone with Parkinson's is endless. For me, the biggest benefit was confidence."

One of the symptoms of the disease is the body parts, such as the legs, can suddenly freeze while the rest of the the individual will carry on moving - causing them to fall.

With Google Glass, Mr Booth says he would be able to call someone without even moving were this to happen, due to the ability to connect it to computers and other mobile devices.

Ms Tearse said: "People would probably say you can do all these things on a smartphone, but actually, with Parkinson's, negotiating a touch screen is really difficult."

Other symptoms of the condition can include tremors, slowness of movement and rigidity, so a device that contains voice recognition software can have a huge positive impact.

Dr John Vines, lead author of the study, said: "What was really encouraging from this early study was how well our volunteers took to the wearable technology and the fact that they could see the potential in it."

Google Glass is not currently on the market in the UK but has been provided to a number of select groups and individuals.

Approximately 127,000 people in the UK have Parkinson's disease, while there is a new diagnosis every hour.

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