Home-based monitoring of falls using wearable sensors in Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2020 Jan;35(1):109-115. doi: 10.1002/mds.27830. Epub 2019 Aug 26.


Introduction: Falling is among the most serious clinical problems in Parkinson's disease (PD). We used body-worn sensors (falls detector worn as a necklace) to quantify the hazard ratio of falls in PD patients in real life.

Methods: We matched all 2063 elderly individuals with self-reported PD to 2063 elderly individuals without PD based on age, gender, comorbidity, and living conditions. We analyzed fall events collected at home via a wearable sensor. Fall events were collected either automatically using the wearable falls detector or were registered by a button push on the same device. We extracted fall events from a 2.5-year window, with an average follow-up of 1.1 years. All falls included were confirmed immediately by a subsequent telephone call. The outcomes evaluated were (1) incidence rate of any fall, (2) incidence rate of a new fall after enrollment (ie, hazard ratio), and (3) 1-year cumulative incidence of falling.

Results: The incidence rate of any fall was higher among self-reported PD patients than controls (2.1 vs. 0.7 falls/person, respectively; P < .0001). The incidence rate of a new fall after enrollment (ie, hazard ratio) was 1.8 times higher for self-reported PD patients than controls (95% confidence interval, 1.6-2.0).

Conclusion: Having PD nearly doubles the incidence of falling in real life. These findings highlight PD as a prime "falling disease." The results also point to the feasibility of using body-worn sensors to monitor falls in daily life. © 2019 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; falls incidence; home-based monitoring; wearable sensor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*