August 21, 2013
BehindTheMedspeak: Got tremor? A new spoon for shaky eaters
Above, a very early prototype in the lab.
The video caption: "The prototype is filled with granola while attached to an apparatus that simulates tremor. You can see that with the system turned off, the granola will immediately fly out of the bowl of the spoon, but while turned on the granola is held indefinitely."
An estimated 10 million people in the U.S. have essential tremor, a neurological disorder characterized by shaking hands, (among other things). It can make eating nearly impossible — but this steadicam spoon could help.
Designed by Lift Labs, the $295 Liftware Spoon largely cancels out shakes with motions of its own: Accelerometers in the handle detect tremors, then actuators move the spoon in compensation.
Test eaters report that the spoon is also useful for, say, scooping out sugar or feeding babies without stabbing them in the face. And it simply helps people enjoy their meals.
"Eating can be more about being with people instead of worrying about spilling," says Anupam Pathak, Lift Labs' founder and CEO."
Below, an abstract of a paper about the innovative spoon presented earlier this year at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurologists, published in Neurology.
Clinical Validation of a Handheld Assistive Device for Tremor
Objective: To demonstrate the effectiveness of a handheld device on reducing tremor, using Active Cancellation of Tremor (ACT) technology.
Background: Essential Tremor (ET) causes action tremors that can severely limit a person's ability to eat, resulting in decreased quality of life. A compact, handheld, battery-powered device is presented that stabilizes a spoon when shaken by an unsteady hand. The device employs ACT technology to sense motion, detect whether the motion is tremor, and move the spoon to cancel tremor.
Design and Methods: Eleven subjects (9M/2F) with ET performed three tasks (holding, eating, and transferring objects) using a spoon device with ACT turned on and off. Tremor amplitude during these tasks was measured using accelerometers embedded in the device. Tremor was rated clinically by a neurologist using the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale, and overall improvement was rated by the subject using the Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI-S). Both subject and neurologist were blinded to whether the device was on or off.
Results: With ACT turned on, tremor amplitude was reduced by an average of 72% in the holding task, 76% in the eating task, and 71% in the transferring task as measured with the accelerometer. There was significant improvement in tremor scores with ACT on compared to ACT off in the eating (1.18 ± 0.98 vs. 0.00 ± 0.45, p=0.003) and transferring (1.18 ± 0.75 vs. 0.27 ± 0.65, p=0.006) tasks, but not the holding task. CGI-S was also significantly improved with ACT on versus ACT off with eating (2.45 ± 1.51 vs. 4.27 ± 0.47, p=0.002) and transferring (2.45 ± 1.37 vs. 3.82 ± 1.47, p=0.04).
Conclusions: The ACT assistive device can reduce tremor amplitude of a spoon when being used by individuals with ET. The tremor reduction is clinically evident and can make eating tasks easier, potentially improving an individual's quality of life.
The spoon is will be available in September: apply within.
August 21, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink
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I'll take my beta blocker....
Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 22, 2013 1:11:41 AM
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