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Germany, Innovation, 2018

Sensors to prevent Parkinson’s patients from falling

16th July 2019

New EIT Health research project launched on telemedical analysis of gait and falls

A groundbreaking project for Parkinson’s patients from EIT Health titled ‘MoveIT’ has now been launched under the lead of the Molecular-Neurological Department at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen in collaboration with researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and other European Partners.

Using telemedicine based on sensors placed in patients’ shoes and attached to their upper body, researchers aim to analyse specific characteristics in the patients’ gait and when they fall. ‘In the future, patients or carers will be able notified in time if a certain gait pattern indicates that a fall is likely’, says lead researcher Prof. Dr. Jochen Klucken (pictured) from the Molecular-Neurological Department at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The data gathered as part of the telemedical home monitoring solution will also be available for use in further research projects for the interdisciplinary care of Parkinson’s patients based on medical engineering approaches.

The project is planned to run for one year and has received funding of € 500 000 from EIT Health. ‘MoveIT’ is just one of many research projects conducted by the consortium led by Prof. Klucken from the Molecular-Neurological Department at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and Prof. Dr. Björn Eskofier from the Chair for Machine Learning and Data Analysis (Heisenberg professor) at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg aimed at designing new digital care concepts for Parkinson’s. These include two other EIT projects and a project funded by the Medical Valley Award (FallRiskPD) for assessing the risk of falls. The new EIT Health project will run in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) Erlangen, headed by Christian Weigand, in order to create the required IT infrastructure for improved communication between doctors, therapists, patients and technology, and provide the best possible patient care. Other regional and European Partners involved in the project are the University of Luxembourg, Radboudumc University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Philips Research ITTM S.A. and Portabiles HealthCare Technologies GmbH (HCT). ‘By working with various partners we are able to incorporate experience from other EU countries and the private sector into the digital medicine which we are developing as part of our project’, explains Prof. Klucken.

With more than 140 Partners from 17 European countries, EIT Health is one of the largest health initiatives in the world. FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg is a core Partner in the EIT Health consortium. The Fraunhofer IIS is also involved as an associate member. The aim of EIT Health is to promote research, entrepreneurial thinking and innovation in the areas of healthy living and active ageing, thereby improving the quality of life, medical care and the health sector throughout Europe. The EIT Health initiative aims to develop innovative products, education services and other services to contribute to solving demographic challenges and optimising healthcare in Europe. With a total project volume of more than €2 billion, up to 700 million of which comes from funding, EITHealth is one of the largest publicly funded health initiatives in the world. The project is set to receive €80 million of annual funding over the next seven to 15 years.

Click here to learn more about FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and the project.

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