THE University of Sheffield has received funding support to develop new digital system that can monitor how well people walk, which is deemed as a vital sign of health.
The project, which includes researchers from the University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is developing a system that uses small sensors worn on the body so how well people walk can easily be monitored and assessed by doctors and health professionals.
Mobility, or 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, according to the University.
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. Better methods are needed to predict, detect and measure mobility loss.
The research is part of a pioneering European project named MOBILISE-D, which aims to revolutionize assessment of mobility loss using digital technology. This could lead to enhanced clinical trials and better clinical management. Claudia Mazza, a Professor in Biomechanics at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, is set to lead the development of the digital technology.
“It marks a fantastic opportunity for the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospital to contribute to a technology-based revolution in clinical management and personalized healthcare, with a local focus on Multiple Sclerosis,” said Mazza.