PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Shaky hand, stable spoon: U-M study shows device helps essential tremor patients

U-M engineering alumni's company developed shake-canceling device

Shaky hand, stable spoon: U-M study shows device helps essential tremor patients
2014-02-28
(Press-News.org) ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For people whose hands shake uncontrollably due to a medical condition, just eating can be a frustrating and embarrassing ordeal – enough to keep them from sharing a meal with others.

But a small new study conducted at the University of Michigan Health System suggests that a new handheld electronic device can help such patients overcome the hand shakes caused by essential tremor, the most common movement disorder.

In a clinical trial involving 15 adults with moderate essential tremor, the device improved patients' ability to hold a spoon still enough to eat with it, and to use it to scoop up mock food and bring it to their mouths.

The researchers measured the effect three ways: using a standard tremor rating, the patients' own ratings, and digital readings of the spoon's movement.

The results are published online in the journal Movement Disorders by a research team that includes U-M neurologist and essential tremor specialist Kelvin Chou, M.D., as well as three people from the small startup company, Lift Labs, that makes the device, called Liftware. The study was funded by a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health that the researchers applied for together.

Public-private partnership – with a Michigan difference

The technology came full circle to its test in the UMHS clinic. The company's CEO, Anupam Pathak, Ph.D., received his doctorate from the U-M College of Engineering – where he first worked on tremor-cancelling advanced microelectronic technologies for other purposes.

The concept is called ACT, or active cancellation of tremor. It relies on tiny electronic devices that work together to sense movement in different directions in real time, and then make a quick and precise counter-motion.

Lift Labs, based in San Francisco, developed the device, which resembles an extra-large electronic toothbrush base. It can adjust rapidly to the shaking of the user's hand, keeping a detachable spoon or other utensil steady. In other words, it shakes the spoon in exactly the opposite way that the person's hand shakes.

But to truly test whether their prototype device could help essential tremor patients overcome their condition's effects, the Lift Labs team turned to Chou, who with his colleagues sees hundreds of essential tremor patients a year.

UMHS offers comprehensive care for the condition as part of its Movement Disorders Center. Chou and his colleagues have experience in prescribing a range of medication to calm tremors, and evaluating which patients might benefit from advanced brain surgery to implant a device that can calm the uncontrollable nerve impulses that cause tremor.

"Only about 70 percent of patients respond to medication, and only about 10 percent qualify for surgery, which has a high and lasting success rate," says Chou, who is an associate professor in the U-M Medical School's departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery. "People get really frustrated by tremor, and experience embarrassment that often leads to social isolation because they're always feeling conscious not just eating but even drinking from a cup or glass."

The trial, Chou says, showed that the amplitude of movement due to the tremor decreased measurably, and that patients could move the spoon much more normally. Though the trial did not include patients with hand tremors caused by other movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, the device may be useful to such patients too, he notes.

Says Pathak, "A key aspect of Liftware is a design with empathy. We hear of people struggling every day, and decided to apply technology in a way to directly help. We hope the final product is something people can feel proud of using, and allow them to regain independence and dignity."

How the study was done

The researchers tested the device's impact both with the microelectronics turned on, and with them turned off so there was no correction for movement. Patients and Chou could not tell by feeling the device whether it was on or off.

All three measures – objective rating by Chou, subjective rating by patients, and digital data from the device's connection to a computer – showed improvement for eating and transferring items when the device was turned on, compared to when it was off.

When the patients were asked to simply hold the spoon halfway between the table and their mouth, the two objective measures showed improvement when the device was on, though the patients didn't report a significant difference themselves.

"Our data show this device has very good potential to assist those who have tremor and aren't candidates for surgery," he says. "Compared with other devices designed to limit tremor by weighting or constraining limbs, this approach allows movement and is easier to use."

The study included 15 adults between the ages of 59 and 80 whose tremor caused them to spill food or drink. They had experienced tremor for anywhere from 5 years to 57 years. All of the patients stopped taking their medication temporarily before testing the Liftware device. Five of the patients had undergone deep brain stimulation, but turned off their tremor-controlling implant for the study.

INFORMATION: Lift Labs is now developing other attachments for the Liftware device, and working with the International Essential Tremor Foundation to raise money to give devices to people with essential tremor who cannot afford the $295 price of a base unit.

In addition to Chou, who does not have a business relationship with Lift Labs, and Pathak, who co-holds two U-M patents with others who developed the ACT approach, the research team included Lift Labs' John A. Redmond, Ph.D., and Michael Allen. The research was funded by NIH SBIR grant 5R44NS070438. Chou is the Thomas H. and Susan C. Brown Early Career Professor of Neurology.

For more information on essential tremor care at UMHS, visit http://umhealth.me/esstrem More information on the Liftware product is available at http://www.liftlabsdesign.com . Citation: Movement Disorders, DOI: 10.1002/mds.25796

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Shaky hand, stable spoon: U-M study shows device helps essential tremor patients

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

A molecular ballet under the X-ray laser

2014-02-28
An international team of researchers has used the world's most powerful X-ray laser to take snapshots of free molecules. The research team headed by Prof. Jochen Küpper of the Hamburg Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) choreographed a kind of molecular ballet in the X-ray beam. With this work, the researchers have cleared important hurdles on the way to X-ray images of individual molecules, as they explain in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. CFEL is a cooperation of DESY, the University of Hamburg, and the Max Planck Society. "We have captured ...

Indonesia's competitiveness at risk from neglected diseases of poverty

2014-02-28
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 27, 2014 – The control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is one of the most cost-effective ways Indonesia can sustain economic growth and reduce inequality, said scientists today in an analysis published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. While Indonesia is poised to defeat NTDs by 2020, it has an opportunity to scale up national programs, integrate NTDs with other development efforts, strengthen coordination and enhance collaboration among key partners. The analysis calls NTDs "one of the most potent forces" trapping ...

NASA saw rainfall rates increase before birth of Tropical Storm Faxai

NASA saw rainfall rates increase before birth of Tropical Storm Faxai
2014-02-28
VIDEO: NASA/JAXA's TRMM Satellite provided data of developing Tropical Storm Faxai to make this 3-D image that showed some towering thunderstorms in the area were reaching altitudes of up to 15.5km/~9.6... Click here for more information. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite passed over System 93W in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and saw rainfall rates increasing on February 27 in the developing tropical low pressure area. On February 28, the low organized ...

Peat soils as gigantic batteries

2014-02-28
This news release is available in German. Wetlands, including peatlands, have a high content of humic substances, which are organic compounds that form during incomplete decomposition of biomass. Under anoxic conditions, soil bacteria can use these organic compounds during respiration as electron acceptors. Many organisms (including us humans) instead use oxygen as the electron acceptor. In the mid-1990s, researchers revealed that some anaerobic microorganisms in soils and sediments use humic substances as electron acceptors under anoxic conditions. However, the capacity ...

Giant sunspot makes third trip across the sun

Giant sunspot makes third trip across the sun
2014-02-28
A giant sunspot – a magnetically strong and complex region on the sun's surface – has just appeared over the sun's horizon. This is the third trip for this region across the face of the sun, which takes approximately 27 days to make a complete rotation. Scientists track sunspots that are part of active regions, which often produce large explosions on the sun such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. Each time an active region appears it is assigned a number. Active regions that have survived their trip around the back of the sun and reappear are assigned ...

New fast and furious black hole found

New fast and furious black hole found
2014-02-28
A team of Australian and American astronomers have been studying nearby galaxy M83 and have found a new superpowered small black hole, named MQ1, the first object of its kind to be studied in this much detail. Astronomers have found a few compact objects that are as powerful as MQ1, but have not been able to work out the size of the black hole contained within them until now. The team observed the MQ1 system with multiple telescopes and discovered that it is a standard-sized small black hole, rather than a slightly bigger version that was theorised to account for all ...

Researchers discover unusual genetic mutation linked to adolescent liver cancer

Researchers discover unusual genetic mutation linked to adolescent liver cancer
2014-02-28
In the race for better treatments and possible cures, rare diseases are often left behind. In a collaboration of researchers at The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the New York Genome Center (NYGC), an unusual mutation has been found that is strongly linked to one such disease: a rare liver cancer that affects teens and young adults. The results, published this week in Science, suggest that the mutation plays a key role in the development of the disease, called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, and may also underlie more common cancers ...

Retention leads to discipline problems in other kids

Retention leads to discipline problems in other kids
2014-02-28
DURHAM, N.C -- When students repeat a grade, it can spell trouble for their classmates, according to a new Duke University-led study of nearly 80,000 middle-schoolers. In schools with high numbers of grade repeaters , suspensions were more likely to occur across the school community. Discipline problems were also more common among other students, including substance abuse, fighting and classroom disruption. Public debate typically focuses on how retention affects an individual student's academic performance, said lead author Clara Muschkin. So she and her colleagues ...

Dangerous mistaken identity

Dangerous mistaken identity
2014-02-28
This news release is available in German. Proteins like the so-called heat shock protein Hsp90 play an important role in almost all processes within human cells. They help other proteins fold into their three-dimensional structure or return damaged proteins back into their proper shape. Recently, there has been increasing evidence indicating that the heat shock protein HSP90 may also be involved in the folding processes of the tau protein. Deposits of tau proteins in brain cells are typical for Alzheimer's disease and are held responsible for decaying nerve ...

Diabetes and obesity more common in socioeconomically deprived regions

2014-02-28
Living in a socioeconomically deprived region is a risk factor for being affected by diabetes mellitus and obesity. This holds true regardless of the individual social status of the inhabitants. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management (IGM) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) and the Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin. "Regional factors, such as the population's average income, unemployment or quality of the living environment can affect ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] Shaky hand, stable spoon: U-M study shows device helps essential tremor patients
U-M engineering alumni's company developed shake-canceling device