Cumberland County resident Dave Warden has been fascinated by the information technology field since he was 15.
So when Warden, 40, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, his thoughts turned to using technology to help manage the disease.
Those efforts culminated this month when Warden released i-Inject, an iPhone and iPod Touch application designed to help multiple sclerosis patients track and analyze their medication schedule.
“I thought this would be the perfect marriage of technology and (being able to) actually do something to help people instead of creating (one of) the, like, 400 fart apps,” said Warden, who owns IT Consulting firm Elite Circle Computing Inc.
MS is a chronic disease that occurs when the body attacks the protective coating around its own nerve fibers, resulting in symptoms that range from numbness to paralysis.
MS is not contagious, but its underlying cause is unknown, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society‘s Web site. About 400,000 people nationwide are living with the malady.
Pennsylvania has the fifth-highest incidence of MS in the country, and about 5,800 people in Central Pennsylvania are thought to have the disease, said Margie Adelmann, president of the society’s Central Pennsylvania chapter.
Although there is no known cure for MS, some medications — primarily injectible — help control symptoms or slow the disease’s progression. Injections for some treatments are weekly, while others are daily.
That’s where i-Inject comes in. Patients must continuously rotate the location where they administer shots or the skin will atrophy, Warden said.
But the neurological symptoms associated with MS can make it difficult for patients to keep written records of their treatment, and paper journals can become disorganized or lost, Warden said.
So he set out to develop an app that would allow MS patients to manage their treatment electronically, eventually paying an outside software developer to write the code for the program.
Other medical apps are out there, but some cost $500 to $600, compared to $14.99 for i-Inject, and others designed specifically for MS aren’t as comprehensive, Warden said.
I-Inject lets patients store all of the data about their medication — where and when it was taken, what their reaction was and how much of it’s left — in one place, according to its Web site, www.i-inject.com. Patients can e-mail this data straight to doctors, and the program generates reminders when medication supplies are getting low.
Patients also can use i-Inject to track the timing and dosage of oral medications or injections of drugs for other conditions, such as diabetes.
“This is the first I’m hearing of it, so it’s pretty exciting and very interesting,” Adelmann said of i-Inject. “One of the symptoms of MS can be cognitive issues, so anything that can help to support someone with taking their treatment is certainly a benefit.”
Lynda Hambright, a friend of Warden’s who owns Cambridge IT Consulting in Mechanicsburg and has a background in technical writing, wrote the manual for i-Inject.
“I’m just hopeful that in Dave’s treatment, he and his app have great success,” she said.
I-Inject went on sale Dec. 6 in Apple’s online App Store. Only a handful of copies have been sold so far, but that’s before the start of his advertising campaign, Warden said.
He said he plans to donate some proceeds to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society once the product becomes established and he’s recouped the initial costs.