Innovations in Parkinson’s: Where Are We Now?

LBT Innovation Hall Davis Phinney Foundation

by Chris Ocken Photography

One of the most exciting things we learned from creating our recent Little Big Things® Austin event is just how many people and companies are working on technologies, devices and ideas to help people live well with Parkinson’s.

One of our goals for the event, therefore, was to make sure you were able to see these people up close and personal, whether you were able to join us live in Austin, or you were watching from a distance. (By the way, it’s not too late to see what happened. Register for free here to get the recording of the event.)

And based on the feedback we received about our exhibitor hall, many of you were also blown away by all of the advancements that are making it even more possible than ever to live well with Parkinson’s.

This is probably why our brainstorming session at the end of the event sparked such great ideas. We asked attendees two questions:

(1) What is the one solution you or your loved one uses to live better today with Parkinson’s? and

(2) If you could wave a magic wand to make one thing that would help you live better today with Parkinson’s, what would it be?

LBT Brainstorm. - Davis Phinney Foundation

Some of the items/ideas/services/meds people use every day to live better with Parkinson’s now include:

Some of the items/ideas/services/meds people wish were available now include:

  • A mechanical assistive device for getting in and out of the car
  • Monitors that alert fall dangers
  • Something to solve bladder issues
  • Affordable ride sharing
  • DBS that doesn’t require surgery
  • Better smartphone interfaces for people with tremor
  • An app that would immediately alert doctors if they prescribed something that is contra-indicated for another med you are on
  • Parkinson’s hubs/centers where all community activities take place
  • Telemedicine available for all
  • Belts that are easier to get through pant loops
  • Smaller Duopa™ delivery system
  • More drugs that are delivered and work like INBRIJA™

With the way things are going, we're betting some of those wishes aren’t too far down the road.

What has buoyed our excitement, even more, is that since that event, we’ve been hearing from more and more individuals and companies that are innovating, and we’re thrilled to be part of the conversation. Especially as we start to imagine what version 2.0 of this event might look like.

We’ve heard from…

  • A team of engineering students from Stanford who are working on a new wearable device for people with Parkinson’s
  • A student from the UK who is creating a non-pharmacological solution to help people with Parkinson’s improve their quality of life
  • WAVi Medical out of Boulder that has a device that measures brain performance
  • Neufit from Texas that has created an electric stimulation device which helps people with all types of neuro diagnoses improve coordination, decrease spasticity, increase range of motion and circulation and improve balance and strength 
  • GyroGlove, a glove designed to reduce hand tremors
  • And more!

As Ray Dorsey said in his presentation, Parkinson’s is on track to double in the next twenty years. If that’s the case, innovations like these are going to be one of our best chances to improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. Of course, we want to find a cure as well; however, we also want every day until that day to be a day lived well.

LBT Ray Dorsey - Davis Phinney Foundation
Dr. Ray Dorsey talks about telemedicine for all.

Thank you to everyone who is working day and night to help people with Parkinson’s live longer and well. We look forward to digging deeper into this work and supporting innovators every chance we get.

What Innovations Have You Used?

If you’ve used an innovation to help you live well with Parkinson’s, we’d love to hear about it. Share your experiences in the comments section.

Would You Like to Play a Role in Bringing Parkinson's Innovations to Life?

Please donate to the Davis Phinney Foundation so we can continue to fund research that makes innovating possible.


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Comments (3)

Things that help me with PD. A Garmin Vivo 3 exercise monitor watch. It has a stopwatch I use to keep track of my Carbadopa-Levadopa doses so I don’t exceed my time limit for max effect. It also has all sorts of exercise monitors that I use to keep track of my daily exercise time and intensity, stress, sleep duration, weight, heart rate, and calories out. It has made exercise more enjoyable and fun!

My husband and I attended the Big Little Things event in Austin. We very much appreciated the opportunity to hear about new therapies and technologies to improve quality of life for people with PD.

One thing I’d like to mention that has helped my husband is a new type of shoe called KIZIK, which has a titanium heel that makes it easy to step in and out of, making dressing much easier.

I box with Rock Steady Boxing which has helped my core strength tremendously!

I also use Medical Marijuana and have found a strain that relaxes my vocal chords so I can speak without my tremor. I stopped my PD meds because of how they make me feel and have found that I do well with my MM. Also using the wholistic approach, with diet

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