Friday 20 October 2017

Dubliner (24) creates new app to help Parkinson's sufferers

Robin Williams' wife said the actor was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease
Robin Williams' wife said the actor was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

A new smartphone app which restores mobility to Parkinson's patients, created by 24-year-old Dubliner Ciara Clancy, has opened a UK office a month after launching and is selling online around the world.

Beats Medical has signed up heavy-hitting board members including tech entrepreneur Sean Melly of Etel; Dr Emma Stokes, the VP of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy; and Graham Merriman, former head of online global sales at Phillips.

The business helps Parkinson's patients to overcome the freezing and mobility issues caused by the degenerative disorder.

Clancy is a chartered physiotherapist from Skerries in north County Dublin.

She designed the app after realising that traditional sound-based treatments for nervous system affliction Parkinson's could be delivered remotely via smartphone and headphones.

Patients use her app to perform a short physical assessment every day, by moving for two minutes with their smartphone in their pocket.

Using the data gathered, the app prescribes a beat which the patient must listen to for ten minutes twice a day.

Known as metronome treatment, this auditory stimulation overrides dysfunction in the brain and cues the body to move.

One of its testers, John McAphee, walked the length of the UK aided by the app.

"The treatment is supported by decades of research but has never been delivered this way before.

"Through my experience in physiotherapy I saw that technology might help patients to access it remotely," said Clancy.

"Until recently patients had to set aside hours with therapists for this kind of treatment."

She is in the process of raising €500,000 to fund the company's expansion, a combination of Enterprise Ireland money and matched funding from private investors.

The company is headquartered at Dublin's John Rogerson's Quay and recently began offering consultations for patients who require it in London.

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