Validation of quantitative gait analysis systems for Parkinson’s disease for use in supervised and unsupervised environments

Alberto, Sara; Cabral, Sílvia; Proença, João; Pona-Ferreira, Filipa; Leitão, Mariana; Bouça-Machado, Raquel; Kauppila, Linda A.; Veloso, António P.; Costa, Rui M.; Ferreira, Joaquim J.; Matias, Ricardo

Gait impairments are among the most common and impactful symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Recent technological advances aim to quantify these impairments using low-cost wearable systems for use in either supervised clinical consultations or long-term unsupervised monitoring of gait in ecological environments. However, very few of these wearable systems have been validated comparatively to a criterion of established validity.

We developed two movement analysis solutions (3D full-body kinematics based on inertial sensors, and a smartphone application) in which validity was assessed versus the optoelectronic criterion in a population of PD patients.

Nineteen subjects with PD (7 female) participated in the study (age: 62 ± 12.27 years; disease duration: 6.39 ± 3.70 years; HY: 2 ± 0.23). Each participant underwent a gait analysis whilst barefoot, at a self-selected speed, for a distance of 3 times 10 m in a straight line, assessed simultaneously with all three systems.

Our results show excellent agreement between either solution and the optoelectronic criterion. Both systems differentiate between PD patients and healthy controls, and between PD patients in ON or OFF medication states (normal difference distributions pooled from published research in PD patients in ON and OFF states that included an age-matched healthy control group). Fair to high waveform similarity and mean absolute errors below the mean relative orientation accuracy of the equipment were found when comparing the angular kinematics between the full-body inertial sensor-based system and the optoelectronic criterion.

We conclude that the presented solutions produce accurate results and can capture clinically relevant parameters using commodity wearable sensors or a simple smartphone. This validation will hopefully enable the adoption of these systems for supervised and unsupervised gait analysis in clinical practice and clinical trials.


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August 10, 2022


Parkinson’s disease, Gait analysis, Pathological gait, Wearable devices, Smartphone, Kinematics