The research study, which the article is based on, was led by Professor Dr. G. Bernhard Landwehrmeyer, FRCP, who is one of the founders of the European Huntington
Doctors and scientists have long struggled to monitor neurodegenerative diseases such as HD objectively and in a quantitative fashion. Besides cognitive and psychiatric abnormalities, motor symptoms are prominent in HD. The clinically manifest stage of this late-onset, hereditary, typically fully penetrant disorder is preceded by a prodromal stage, characterized by subtle alterations.
Movement disorders often fluctuate in severity and may show high variability in their clinical presentation. Therefore, devices monitoring motor abnormalities, allowing for continuous measurements, integrated into the daily life of patients, may in a useful way complement traditional medical examination. Current scientific efforts aim at identifying sensitive progression markers that yield reliable, reproducible signals early in the
This pilot study used NeuraMetrix’s digital biomarker, which is based on variabilities in typing cadence, to continuously monitor the keyboard typing on the participant’s own computer to evaluate this method as a tool to assess the motor phenotype in HD. Typing cadence is likely one of the strongest habits we have, effectively hardwired in our brains. When
The study obtained sufficient data for analysis from 25 participants, 12 of whom were manifest HD patients, 7 HD gene expansion carriers (HDGEC), and 6 healthy controls.
In a cross-sectional analysis, the research team found significantly higher typing inconsistency in HD patients compared to controls. Typing inconsistency showed a trend to higher inconsistency levels in HDGEC, compared to healthy controls. There were correlations between typing cadence and clinical scores (e.g. the UHDRS finger tapping item), composite measures of HD progression (the composite UHDRS), and indices of biological burden (CAP score).
“The impression is that typing cadence inconsistency, as measured by the NeuraMetrix TC, is a promising candidate digital biomarker capturing even subtle alterations of fine motor skills in HD,” said Dr. Christina Lang, the lead author of the study.
“NeuraMetrix is thrilled about the results from this important HD study. It clearly shows that NeuraMetrix TC has potential in detecting alterations early in HD, even in the absence of clinical signs” said Jan Samzelius, NeuraMetrix’ Co-founder & CEO.
About NeuraMetrix, Inc.
NeuraMetrix, founded in 2013, is a San Francisco-based Medtech company whose mission is to support neurologists and psychiatrists with an accurate tool to detect and monitor various neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders and assess the efficacy of a particular treatment. In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Breakthrough Device designation to the NeuraMetrix Typing Cadence (TC) solution. Read more at www.neurametrix.com and follow us on Twitter @neurametrix.
About Ulm University Medical Center
The Department of Neurology at Ulm University is committed to excellence in research, teaching and patient care for people afflicted by a broad range of brain disorders. A particular focus is on neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington
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