Dementia and Parkinson´s Disease

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Parkinson’s disease, a type of dementia also known as idiopathic or primary parkinsonism, paralysis agitans, or hypokinetic rigid syndrome/HRS, is on the rise in the U.S. Each year there are over 60,000 new cases in the U.S. alone. With the average person diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over the age of 65 and America’s rapidly growing elderly population, awareness and concern are becoming significant points of interest for many healthcare professionals.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the destruction of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the midbrain (Substantia nigra). These nerve cells are used to coordinate smooth and regular body movement. In the absence of these cells, people often experience tremors (involuntary shaking or movement of the limbs). Tremors can affect all parts of the human body and make daily activities difficult. Eating, for example, can be extremely challenging if your hands are constantly twitching. Over the years, companies have developed various solutions to eliminate or minimize these tremors. Initially these solutions were large and bulky and resembled a robotic arm, but over time they have become more compact. Using various types of constraints and braces, these contraptions force the patient’s tremor to cease. However, it is hard to imagine wearing these uncomfortable devices in public or trying to eat with them in the presence of others.

San Francisco-based company Lift Labs recently developed a type of electronic utensil (called Liftware) to help offset the effects of tremors using stabilizing technology. What makes this Lift Labs device different from others is that it does not try to eliminate the tremor, but rather counteract it. CEO and Founder of Lift Labs, Anupam Pathak, developed thi...

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...e menu for many of its users.

Since its release in September, 2013, Liftware has proven to be a success with over 1,000 units sold, and it is now available on popular websites including Amazon. With increased diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease, expect the demand for stabilizing products to only go up. Seeing this new market emerge, Pathak claims this is just the beginning for Lift Labs. With funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $1 million in seed funding from Silicon Valley angel investors, Lift Labs plans to expand their products in ways never seen before. In the future, Lift Labs plans to produce solutions for drinking and grooming with their patented stabilizing technology. Pathak and his team of engineers continue to take advantage of this expanding market and work to help give those with Parkinson’s disease a chance to lead a normal life.

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