Koneksa, Northwestern Study Severity of Parkinson’s Speech Problems

Health technology company Koneksa and Northwestern University plan to begin enrolling patients in the third quarter of this year for a study to measure the severity of voice abnormalities that can occur in Parkinson’s disease.

The clinical trial, which is expected to be completed in 2024, will be funded by a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research (MJFF).

The study will evaluate a measurement tool designed to quantify the severity of speech problems in Parkinson’s, particularly voice changes related to the early stages of disease progression.

In addition to movement, Parkinson’s disease can affect the muscles of the face, mouth, and throat that are used for speaking. This can lead to voice changes and difficulty speaking or swallowing. For example, a patient’s voice may become softer and speech may become rapid, garbled, or mumbled. A large majority of patients with Parkinson’s disease may present with voice abnormalities, which can have a major impact on quality of life.

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Additionally, research indicates that speech impairment may be a biomarker – an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease. There are currently no laboratory biomarkers capable of detecting the disease.

Koneksa recently announced a partnership with Aural Analytics to enhance its platform and research capabilities using Aural’s clinical-grade speech assessment technology. This technology will be used in the next speech study.

“The lack of clear and reliable biomarkers is one of the greatest obstacles to developing and testing new treatments that slow, stop or even prevent Parkinson’s disease,” Koneksa CEO Chris Benko said in a statement. hurry.

“This is a key unmet need for patients with Parkinson’s disease, and digital biomarker technology will allow researchers to diagnose the disease and measure its progression. This will lead to more definitive clinical trial results,” Benko said.

The research trial will be led by Tonya Simuni, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.

“We are grateful to MJFF and privileged to collaborate with Northwestern University,” said John A. Wagner, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at Koneksa.

“Digital biomarkers are revolutionizing translational science and have proven their effectiveness specifically in Parkinson’s disease. Our hope is that the increased use of digital biomarkers will lead to more life-saving therapies for patients with Parkinson’s disease,” added Wagner.