Multiple sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting around 2.3 million people worldwide. Although the disease is chronic, it can be successfully managed with medication and rehabilitation. Accurate assessment of patient motor functions is crucial when it comes to choosing the right treatment plan. Currently, that assessment is based on visual inspection by physicians and physiotherapists, leading to widely varying results. This means patients may be incorrectly assessed, potentially resulting in incorrect drug dosages or wrong therapy decisions.
Eliko has extensive experience with motion sensing technology using MEMS-based IMUs. For the past two years, we have worked with the Estonian Society of Multiple Sclerosis to develop and test a new method for assessing the motor abilities of patients with multiple sclerosis. The technology is based on Eliko’s custom inertial motion sensors, sensor fusion technology, and pattern recognition software.
Data analytics is based on specific exercises and a set of custom developed motion features. Compared to conventional assessment techniques, Eliko’s combined sensor and methodology is more sensitive to changes in condition invisible to the naked eye. Moreover, the methodology is uniform and repeatable, independent of the physician administering the test.
A clinical trial at the West Tallinn Central Hospital has shown that physicians are able to detect relapses earlier and assess the effect of medication better when using Eliko’s new solution. Another small trial conducted in 2016 revealed that when patients are able to evaluate their condition at home, hospital visits could be reduced by up to 75%. In addition, the solution will be beneficial for medication still in its clinical trial phase, since there is a lack of sensitive outcome measures for motor condition assessment.
While initially developed for progressive MS patients, the solution can possibly be used for other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. MotionMon is Eliko’s first spin-off based on our motion sensing technology. In the future, we will concentrate on other motion sensing applications such as location detection and navigation.