4. ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING
What assessment tools can be used to evaluate functional impairment, disability and quality of life in people with DCM? What instruments, tools or methods can be used or developed to monitor people with DCM for disease progression or improvement either before or after surgical treatment? 
Accurate monitoring of symptoms of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) is crucial for both those living with DCM and also those working with DCM. Development of better assessments will not only help researchers to understand the disease course better, but also help people with DCM to self-assess, which is critically important for their own informational needs.
Dr Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan, rehabilitation specialist, tells us why it’s so important to develop tools to accurately monitor DCM.
How Is Myelopathy.org and RECODE-DCM Working to Address this Priority?
Remote Monitoring and Triage of DCM Using a Mobile Phone?
In December 2022, we were delighted to share a concept called MoveMed, which has been in development for a few years. MoveMed is an application for mobile phones, originally developed at the University of Cambridge by Dr Benjamin Davies, Dr Mark Kotter, and Dr Robert Harle. It empowers patients to monitor objectively their own neurological conditions, through interactive tasks and background monitoring, providing a more detailed and frequent assessment that can be shared with their healthcare professionals.
The team has now expanded, with the aim of bringing the technology into clinical research and eventually into the clinic. Ben was joined by Alvaro Yanez to discuss the origins and future on the Myelopathy Matters podcast.
Listen to Podcast Episode: S3E5 – Mobile Monitoring of Myelopathy with MoveMed
What Does MoveMed Measure?
MoveMed focuses on dexterity, arm strength and stability, including tremor, balance and gait. It therefore targets diseases where physical movement is a critical part of the phenotype, from Multiple Sclerosis and Myasthenia Gravis, to DCM and Peripheral Neuropathy, to Arthritis.
Myelopathy.org is now supporting the group, in the EMPOWER study, a virtual study of individuals with neurological disease including DCM. Can you help?
People with DCM can register for the study at https://movemed.io/empower. Here you will receive an overview of the study, and have an opportunity to ask questions before consenting to participate. The mobile application is then downloaded from the respective Apple or Android App stores. The performance of the mobile application is compared to the current standards (short questionnaires) sent to you by email at the beginning and again at 6 and 12 weeks. The mobile tests take approximately 5 minutes to complete. You will be prompted to complete them at least weekly, but can complete them more frequently if desired.
Professionals interested in supporting the study or the technology’s development can contact the team directly.
Learn More about Research Priority 4 on the Myelopathy Matters Podcast
In 2020, AO Spine took over the Myelopathy Matters podcast to tackle the Top 10 Research Priorities for DCM. In this episode, Dr Benjamin Davies and Dr Michelle Starkey talk about techniques for Assessment and Monitoring of DCM. First they hear Paige Howard’s perspective as someone living with DCM. Then, spine surgeon Dr Paul Koljonen and rehabilitation specialist Dr Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan give their expert input regarding current techniques, critical knowledge gaps and recent innovations in the field.