The Asian Age
First app to tell if alcohol- related tremors are real
Chronic alcohol abusers often come to the emergency department claiming to be in withdrawal in an effort to obtain benzodiazepines
Toronto, Sept. 1: Scientists have developed the world’s first app to measure strength of tremors owing to alcohol withdrawal, providing guidance to direct treatment decisions.
The app also shows promise in making solid predictions about whether the tremor is real or fake.
Withdrawal is a potentially fatal condition that is easily treated with benzodiazepine drugs, a class of sedatives used to treat alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, seizures, insomnia and more.
But physicians are often reluctant to prescribe them because they’re frequently abused and can be dangerous when mixed with other drugs, especially alcohol and opiates. The most commonly used clinical sign of withdrawal is tremor, especially in the hands and arms.
Judging tremor severity is harder than it sounds — it requires considerable medical expertise, and even experienced doctors’ estimates can vary widely.
Chronic alcohol abusers often come to the emergency department claiming to be in withdrawal in an effort to obtain benzodiazepines, and it can be difficult for inexperienced clinicians to determine if the patient is actually in withdrawal or “faking” a withdrawal tremor.
Front- line health- care workers had no objective way to tell the sufferers from the fakers — until now.
Researchers at the University of Toronto developed the world’s first app to measure tremor strength, providing objective guidance to direct treatment decisions.
A researchers team at tested the app on 49 patients experiencing tremors.