The gloves identify the tremors in patients' hands and automatically apply electric current to stimulate the hand muscles to diminish the tremors

Chula Parkinson's Gloves

Chula introduces 5th generation tremor-reducing Parkinson's Gloves. (Credit: erd Altmann from Pixabay)

Chulalongkorn University (Chula), a Thailand-based public autonomous research university, has launched the latest generation of Parkinson’s gloves which are designed to automatically reduce tremors.

According to Chula, the gloves are lightweight and user-friendly, and enable Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients to enjoy a more active social life. Besides, they reduce the side effects of medication and the risks associated with brain surgery.

The research university said that the prevailing approach to addressing Parkinson’s involves a combination of medications, which is often insufficient in mitigating all tremors.

In cases where tremors are particularly severe, patients may resort to brain surgery, an option considered undesirable due to its high costs and numerous side effects. This dilemma has pushed a team of researchers at the university’s faculty of medicine to embark on research and the development of the “tremor-reducing Parkinson’s gloves” prototype since 2014.

The team of researchers were led by Roongroj Bhidayasiri and Onanong Phokaewvarangkul.

The prototype model of Parkinson’s gloves was developed to identify the tremors in patients’ hands and automatically apply electric current to stimulate the hand muscles to diminish the tremors.

Onanong said: “The tremor-reducing Parkinson’s gloves are the first medical device that can help reduce tremors in the hands of PD patients through automatic electric stimulation of the hand muscles.

“We hope this will help reduce the tremors for the patients without having to increase the dosage of their medication unnecessarily and reduce the risk of brain surgery.”

The product was granted a patent in 2017 under the title “portable tremor measuring and reducing device using electrical muscle stimulation.” Various research articles in international medical journals have been published to validate the device’s effectiveness.

Chula’s team has now created the “5th generation tremor-reducing Parkinson’s gloves,” which are claimed to be cost-effective compared to similar imported devices.

The automated Parkinson’s gloves for tremor reduction function through the integration of two systems. The first is the precise detection and measurement of Parkinson’s tremors using an accelerometer and a gyroscope, known for their high accuracy and minimal error risk.

Parkinson’s tremors typically register within the range of 4-7 Hz. To mitigate these tremors, the gloves employ electrical muscle stimulation.

When the sensors identify Parkinson’s-specific tremors, they send a signal via Bluetooth to the muscle stimulator, which releases an electric current from a small battery to reduce the tremors. The muscle stimulator adheres to physiotherapy standards for resistance, frequency, and electric current, ensuring patient safety, said Chula.