Cambridge Hospitals trials device to improve movement for Parkinson’s disease inpatients

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT has launched a pilot of a medical device hoped to support Parkinson’s disease inpatients in significantly improving their movement.

The body-worn device developed in Cambridge will now be offered to Parkinson’s disease inpatients at the trust. Called the CUE1, the device is commonly worn on the sternum, to deliver “specialised patterns of vibration and pulses, known as vibrotactile stimulation and cueing”. In result, the aim is to improve motor skills, walking parameters, and reduces freeze-of-gait and stiffness, CUH said.

The hospital has purchased ten devices to trial with their inpatients with Parkinson’s disease. The overall aim is to reduce length of stay and support improved mobility.

Dr Alistair Mackett, CUH consultant geriatrician, commented: “I felt that it was exciting to trial the CUE1 devices as they have been shown to be safe with almost no side effects, yet potentially helpful with mobility and a reduction in falls.

“In the UK almost 1,000 people already use the device, we are the first hospital in the world to use them with inpatients. The pilot will allow us to collect data and understand how best to use the CUE1 device in people with Parkinson’s who have been admitted to hospital. Often the rate limiting step in discharge is mobility and this device, given the immediacy of effect, is an interesting intervention.

Lucy Jung, CEO of Charco Neurotech, added: “We are delighted to see the CUE1 being trialled in a hospital setting for the very first time. It is a milestone for our company and an important step on our journey to bring back smiles to people living with Parkinson’s around the world.

“The CUE1 has been developed by designers, engineers and clinicians, and offers a novel, non-invasive approach to minimising the symptoms of Parkinson’s. More than 92 percent of participants displayed an improvement in their motor symptoms such as (but not limited to) stiffness, slowness and freeze of gait when using the device.”

The hospital has bought the devices with the help of the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and were introduced to the company through the Eastern Academic Health Science Network.

In recent news at the trust, HTN reported on the role of mixed reality tech to improve and optimise how staff deliver clinical care, and how the trust trains and educates staff. Through an awareness event at CUH, including tech suppliers Microsoft, VSI ApoQLar, Fracture Reality JoinXR, Proximie and Holomedicine Association, CUH staff have been testing mixed reality technology to see how it can improve patient care, productivity and medical expertise.