Graduate student wins for video about Parkinson’s study
WSU News -
A Washington State University student has won a national award for a compelling video that he created about his work to improve treatment for Parkinson’s disease. View the video at http://www.posterhall.org/igert2013/posters/348.
Nathan Darnall, a graduate student in WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, won a judge’s choice award in the video competition sponsored by the National Science Foundation. There were 124 entries.
The competition, for participants in NSF’s IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program, aims to demonstrate students’ innovative and interdisciplinary research. Darnall is a fellow in WSU’s Health Assistive Smart Environments’ IGERT program.
In the video, he explains that his long-term interest in Parkinson’s came about because he helped to care for his grandfather, who suffered from the disease. With Parkinson’s, doctors have to walk a fine line with prescriptions in order to control symptoms without causing too many negative side effects.
Darnall designed a study in which patients with Parkinson’s wore accelerometers in a home setting. He tracked the signals from the accelerometer and used computerized learning to classify the instances of tremors or other uncontrolled movements in study participants. The hope is that clinicians can use such data someday to optimize prescriptions for their patients’ maximum benefit.
WSU researchers led by professor Diane Cook received the prestigious IGERT grant in 2009. Over five years, approximately 30 doctoral students will receive support from the $3 million grant to study health-assistive, smart environments in a multidisciplinary way.
Darnall will be recognized on June 11 at a ceremony and workshop at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Va.