Accelerometry for remote monitoring of physical activity in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a longitudinal cohort study

J Neurol. 2019 Oct;266(10):2387-2395. doi: 10.1007/s00415-019-09427-5. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Background: The extensive heterogeneity between patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) complicates the quantification of disease progression. In this study, we determine the value of remote, accelerometer-based monitoring of physical activity in patients with ALS.

Methods: This longitudinal cohort study was conducted in a home-based setting; all study materials were sent by mail. Patients wore the ActiGraph during waking hours for 7 days every 2-3 months and provided information regarding their daily functioning (ALSFRS-R). We defined four accelerometer-based endpoints that either reflect the average daily activity or quantify the patient's physical capacity.

Results: A total of 42 patients participated; the total valid monitoring period was 9288 h with a 93.0% adherence rate. At baseline, patients were active 27.9% (range 11.6-52.4%) of their time; this declined by 0.64% (95% 0.43-0.86, p < 0.001) per month. Accelerometer-based endpoints were strongly associated with the ALSFRS-R (r 0.78, 95% CI 0.63-0.92, p < 0.001), but showed less variability over time than the ALSFRS-R (coefficient of variation 0.64-0.81 vs. 1.06, respectively). Accelerometer-based endpoints could reduce sample size by 30.3% for 12-month trials and 44.6% for 18-month trials; for trials lasting less than 9 months, the ALSFRS-R resulted in smaller sample sizes.

Conclusion: Accelerometry is an objective method for quantifying disease progression, which could obtain real-world insights in the patient's physical functioning and may personalize the delivery of care. In addition, remote monitoring provides patients with the opportunity to participate in clinical trials from home, paving the way to a patient-centric clinical trial model.

Keywords: Accelerometry; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Clinical trial; Longitudinal cohort study.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / standards*
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression*
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results