TAKING a seven-minute test on a smartphone can help accurately predict how symptoms will develop in people in the early stages of Parkinson’s, Oxford researchers have found.

The study, supported by the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and funded by the Monument Trust Discovery Award from Parkinson's UK, has the potential to create a more personalised approach to the treatment of the degenerative neurological condition.

The smartphone test guides users through seven tasks assessing voice, balance, walking, reaction time, finger tapping, rest tremor and when holding a pose.

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It makes use of the sensors in smartphones to measure different kinds of movement consistently and accurately.

The test was carried out in the clinic and at home on a range of common smartphones and was then matched to standard motor, cognitive and functional assessments and questionnaires that were conducted in clinic. It was able to predict changes 18 months before they occurred.

Christine Lo, Clinical Research Fellow at Oxford University's Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre, said: “The main driver for this study was to improve clinical care by finding better ways of predicting how Parkinson’s is likely to progress over time on an individual basis, as its course can vary greatly from person to person."