Possible New World Parkinson’s Day Tradition? Giving PD the BiRD

This intriguing new device could inspire a new World Parkinson’s Day tradition. In addition to helping diagnose Parkinson’s, the BiRD (Bionics Institute Rigidity Device) offers a therapeutic benefit to patients by bionically assisting them in defiantly raising their middle finger at Parkinson’s Disease.

Researchers from Bionics Institute in Melbourne Australia have developed a small, palm-worn device to help diagnose Parkinson’s disease—a condition which is otherwise difficult to identify. The BiRD attaches to the patient’s hand via Velcro straps and employs a motor to repeatedly bend the patient’s middle finger for 30 seconds. Integrated sensors measure the force required to bend that finger.

According to the press release:

Muscle stiffness, also known as rigidity, is one of the first symptoms to emerge in the disease and is used to help diagnose Parkinson’s. Rigidity can also be used to track the progression of the disease and to guide treatments.

To address this diagnostic gap, Bionics Institute researchers have created the “BiRD”—the Bionics Institute Rigidity Device.

The device is designed to be used by a general practitioner as a simple test which can accurately measure rigidity.

The BiRD is worn on the palm of the hand and has a miniature motor that bends the patient’s middle finger repetitively for about 30 seconds. Sensors embedded in the device can detect the amount of effort required to move the finger and this is used to indicate muscle rigidity. The more rigid the patient’s muscles are, the more effort will be required to move the finger.

The BiRD can identify a difference in rigidity between people with and without Parkinson’s disease which could save patients a significant amount of time in being diagnosed allowing earlier therapeutic intervention.

Dr Thushara Perera, Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute and inventor of the BiRD, said the device not only offers a simple diagnosis in an otherwise complicated condition, but may also one day help monitor patients where they need it most—in their own homes.

“In the future, patients may be able to use the BiRD at home to monitor their own health and provide a report to their doctor, just like a blood glucose monitor for diabetics. This will help their doctor decide how to give the best treatment to their patients, including which medications to administer.”

News Report: https://www.9news.com.au/national/parkinsons-disease-the-bird-measures-muscle-stiffness-which-can-lead-to-a-definitive-diagnosis-of-parkinsons-disease/24d47001-40b6-4cbd-81e7-47d7340bd73b

Press Release: https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/giving-parkinsons-the-birda-device-to-diagnose-parkinsons-disease

More Information: https://newatlas.com/bird-parkinsons-finger/59253/

Bionics Institute: http://www.bionicsinstitute.org