Seventh Framework Programme

Introduction

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder that often impairs the patient motor skills and speech. PD is characterized by muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia) and in extreme cases, a loss of physical movement (akinesia). More specifically, PD reflects a loss of dopaminergic and other sub-cortical neurons in the brain.

The risk to develop this devastating disease increases sharply with age: Parkinson disease affects 1% of the population over 65 years of age, rising to 2% for those over 80 years. With an increasingly ageing population, neurodegenerative diseases will assume greater importance. The cases for Parkinson disease are expected to double worldwide by the year 2020. Proper medical care of these patients is getting increasingly complex and expensive. Lengthy hospital stays for monitoring and adjustment of the patients' treatment and the problems related with it, contribute to cost increase and morbidity because of the hospitalization itself.

PD progresses with time. If not treated, motor symptoms have an aggressive advance at the beginning of the disease, with a slower advance during the disease course: untreated patients are expected to lose independent ambulation after 8 years and be bedridden after 10 years. In these cases, medication has improved the prognosis of motor symptoms, while at the same time it is also a new source of disability due to the undesired effects of levodopa dopaminergic drug after years of use.

Different studies of the history of the disease on people taking levodopa have found that the mean progression of symptoms to a stage of high dependency of subjects may take around 15 years. However it is hard to predict what course the disease will take for an individual. Age is the best predictor of disease progression. Rate of motor decline is greater in those with less impairment at diagnosis, while cognitive impairment is more frequent in those who are over 70 years of age at symptoms onset.

Since current therapies improve motor symptoms, disability at present is mainly related to non-motor features of the disease. Nevertheless the relationship between disease progression and disability is not linear. At first disability is related to motor symptoms and especially motor complications, which appear in up to 50% of the patients after 5 years of levodopa usage. As the disease advances, disability is more related to motor symptoms that have a bad response to medication such as swallowing and speech difficulties and gait and balance problems. Finally, after ten years, most people with the disease suffer autonomic disturbances, sleep problems, mood alterations and cognitive decline. All of them, but especially the latter, greatly increase disability.

PERFORM (A soPhisticatEd multi-parRametric system FOR the continous effective assessment and Monitoring of motor status in Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases) is a collaborative research project, under the SEventh Framework Programme of the European Comission, that aims at tackling problems associated with the efficient remote health status monitoring, the qualitative assessment and the treament presonalisation for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases and movement disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease.

PERFORM (www.perform-project.com) develops an innovative, intelligent system for monitoring neurodegenerative disease evolution throug the employment of werable sensors, advanced knowledge processing and fusion algorytms.

PERFORM is meant to be a useful tool for patients, doctors and researchers.

This workshop will represent a unique opportunity for different stakeholders, allowing them to share perspectives and experiences about neurodegenerative diseases, with especial emphasis on Parkinson disease, from the technical, medical and industry point of view.

Room capacity is limited, therefore previous registration is required. Please, register until 15th November by filling in the registration form.