The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Research and Innovation

Leeds Teaching Hospitals team invent multiple sclerosis detection tool

26 September 2023

MS Device Helen FordZ6A 5977A team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) have developed a new tool to help identify potentially life-changing treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The new instrument uses 3D motion technology to capture finger and wrist markers as patients move objects on a board. The tool can also be used in other conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Professor Helen Ford, consultant neurologist and the research lead for neurosciences at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We see the device as having significant applications in both research trials and clinical settings.

“The tool could also be really useful for rehabilitation as well as it provides a much better understanding of arm function. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can monitor improvement, deterioration and the value of different approaches.”

MS is a long-term condition, affecting the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with sight, movement, sensation and balance. Currently, there are no treatments to stop its progression.

Research funded by Leeds Hospitals Charity, led by neurologist Dr Linford Fernandes, found that tracking movements with the new tool can find signs of disease progression more quickly than current clinical testing.

The project further enhances LTHT’s reputation as a leading UK centre for new treatments for MS, and was developed in cooperation with the University of Leeds departments of psychology and engineering.

Professor Ford is working with the University of Leeds to develop the tool further and apply it to a larger population of patients. It is hoped the tool can be used as a sub-study of the huge new Octopus trial, multi-arm, multi-stage platform, to find new ways to treat progressive MS.

LTHT is set to become the first regional hub to open for Octopus and will work in collaboration with clinical researchers at hospitals in Bradford, Hull, Sheffield and York.