Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK have been awarded a whopping 2.1 million euros to help develop a technology to monitor how well people walk, a vital sign of health and wellbeing.
The project, which also includes researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, involves developing a system that uses small sensors worn on the body so that people's walk can be easily monitored and assessed by doctors and health professionals.
Funded by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking - a public-private partnership that funds health research and innovation - the research is part of a pioneering European project named MOBILISE-D, which aims to revolutionise assessment of mobility loss using digital technology. This could lead to enhanced clinical trials and better clinical management.
MOBILISE-D marks a fantastic opportunity for the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospital to contribute to a technology-based revolution in clinical management and personalised healthcare, with a local focus on Multiple Sclerosis. professor Claudia Mazz said.
It is the product of a long-standing multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at the Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine and the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre, he added.
The project will enable clinicians and scientists from academic centres across Europe to collaborate with companies from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The goal is to develop, validate, and ensure regulation of better mobility outcomes.
The project includes 34 international research partners based at leading international universities and some of the world's largest pharmaceutical and technical companies.
Mobility how well someone walks is considered the sixth vital sign of health. This is because poor gait, especially walking slowly, is associated with earlier death, greater risk of disease, cognitive decline, dementia and an increased risk of falls.
In the EU, people over the age of 65 make up more than 19 per cent of the population, a figure projected to rise significantly. Increasing life expectancy, coupled with the number of people living with chronic health conditions, means that more people are coping with mobility loss.
Better treatment of impaired mobility resulting from ageing and chronic disease is one of the 21st century's greatest challenges facing patients, society, governments, healthcare services and science.
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