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Wearable tech device to ease Parkinson’s is trialled

Addenbrooke’s has become the first hospital in the world to offer Parkinson’s disease inpatients the chance to try a body-worn device developed in Cambridge and aimed at significantly improving movement - quickly.

Called the CUE1 and commonly worn on the sternum, it delivers specialised patterns of vibration and pulses, known as ‘vibrotactile stimulation and cueing’, which improves motor skills, walking parameters, and reduces freeze-of-gait and stiffness.

CUE1 in box
The CUE1

The hospital has bought ten devices with the help of the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), and they will be used by patients with Parkinson’s to aid their recovery and support them returning home more quickly. The news coincides with World Parkinson’s Day.

Dr Alistair Mackett head and shoulders
Dr Alistair Mackett

CUH consultant geriatrician, Dr Alistair Mackett who specialises in Parkinson’s disease, met the CUE1 developers, Charco Neurotech, through the Eastern Academic Health Science Network. It exists to connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, charities and industry, with a focus on improving outcomes for patients.

Dr Mackett, who is also a training programme director for geriatric medicine in the East of England, said: “I felt that it was exciting to trial the CUE1 devices as they have been shown to be safe with almost no side effects, yet potentially helpful with mobility and a reduction in falls.

In the UK almost 1,000 people already use the device, we are the first hospital in the world to use them with inpatients. The pilot will allow us to collect data and understand how best to use the CUE1 device in people with Parkinson’s who have been admitted to hospital.

We have 20-30 inpatients with Parkinson’s disease at any one time in CUH and their length of stay is significantly longer than average. Often the rate limiting step in discharge is mobility and this device, given the immediacy of effect, is an interesting intervention.

Dr Alistair Mackett

“My hypothesis is that we might be able to see an improvement in mobility allowing patients to better participate in therapy and hopefully go home quicker.”

Shelly Thake 500 x 557
Shelly Thake

ACT Chief Executive, Shelly Thake, said:

We are extremely pleased to be able to support this trial and bring the hope of greater movement to Parkinson’s patients, and a reduction in falls. We wish all involved good luck with it.

Shelly Thake
Lucy Jung head and shoulders
Lucy Jung

Lucy Jung, CEO of Charco Neurotech, based in East Rd, Cambridge said:

We are delighted to see the CUE1 being trialled in a hospital setting for the very first time. It is a milestone for our company and an important step on our journey to bring back smiles to people living with Parkinson’s around the world.

Lucy Jung

“The CUE1 has been developed by designers, engineers and clinicians, and offers a novel, non-invasive approach to minimising the symptoms of Parkinson’s. More than 92% of participants displayed an improvement in their motor symptoms such as (but not limited to) stiffness, slowness and freeze of gait when using the device.”

World Parkinson's Day 2023 logo

For further information about Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust’s work call 01223 217757 or to donate visit (opens in a new tab)

Anyone interested in CUE1 should be aware there is a waiting list. More details from the company web site at (opens in a new tab)

More on World Parkinson’s Day at (opens in a new tab)