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Understanding Neurodegenerative Diseases with Wearable Sensors

Millions of people across the globe struggle with neurodegenerative diseases every day. Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by a breakdown of the central and peripheral nervous systems and cause progressive deterioration of a normally functioning human body. However, a significant challenge in studying neurodegenerative diseases is that direct measurements of neurological systems are invasive and expensive.

Wearable sensors can be used to understand disease progression and manifestation by measuring physical symptoms and physiological outcomes.

The Wide Spectrum of Neurodegenerative Disease Symptoms

The brain plays a central role in coordinating multiple systems in the body to perform complex tasks and sustain life. A breakdown in any component of the central or peripheral nervous system causes impaired body functioning, leading to specific disease and symptom manifestation.

For example, Parkinson’s disease causes damage to the part of the brain that controls physical movements; as a result, patients often present with tremors, stiffness, and a slowing of movements. In contrast, spinal muscular atrophy destroys nerve cells that control life-sustaining respiratory function. Depending on the disease and the individual, the rate of neurodegeneration and the progression of functional impairments can vary widely.

Understanding Neurodegenerative Diseases with Wearable Sensors (

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