As the world population ages and chronic diseases become more common and long-lasting, mobility loss has become a major public health problem.
To mitigate its consequences, we need objective and reliable mobility measures. Until recently, we could see when someone had trouble moving about, but we could not easily measure this loss:
- if patient-reported, measures are inevitably subjective and thus difficult to compare;
- if objective, they require patients to come to a very well-equipped lab or clinic with trained personnel, which is impractical and expensive.
“But even if we have all that, it only provides a snapshot of mobility – right there, right then. It’s not telling you what the patient is doing the rest of the time”, as reminded Prof. Beatrix Vereijken from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
So, how to address these limitations? This is where the Mobilise-D consortium comes into play.
Funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) for a five-year period (2019-2024), more than 300 professionals from leading universities, hospitals and industries are currently working on a novel approach to measure and monitor real-world walking speed (RWS) and other mobility outcomes – through wearable digital technology.
“By validating digital mobility assessment, we will tackle a major public health problem and a bottleneck for clinical trial development in a regulatory environment – the increasing prevalence of mobility loss due to aging and chronic disease.”
The chosen disease cohorts represent a broad array of mobility problems with different trajectories of disability – such as chronic progressive, persistent severe, or catastrophic trajectories. Together, the cohorts allow for a comprehensive evaluation of the mobility disability spectrum resulting from different diseases and injuries, and thus provide a rich and diverse test bed for clinical validity.
“The analysis is still ongoing but the first results look much better than expected.”
Even out of curiosity, there is no need to wait until 2024 to access the first results and achievements. The Mobilise-D consortium already published about 60 papers, mainly from the technical and clinical validation study, on its website.
A tour de force that may well improve patient care – if validated by regulators and other stakeholders.