Background: There is a need for standardized and objective methods to measure postural instability (PI) and gait dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Recent technological advances in wearable devices, including standard smartphones, may provide such measurements.
Objectives: To test the feasibility of smartphones to detect PI during the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test.
Methods: Ambulatory PD patients, divided by item 30 (postural stability) of the motor Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) to those with a normal (score = 0, PD-NPT) and an abnormal (score ≥ 1, PD-APT) test and a group of healthy controls (HC) performed a 10-meter TUG while motion sensor data was recorded from a smartphone attached to their sternum using the EncephaLog application.
Results: In this observational study, 44 PD patients (21 PD-NPT and 23 PD-APT) and 22 HC similar in age and gender distribution were assessed. PD-APT differed significantly in all gait parameters when compared to PD-NPT and HC. Significant difference between PD-NPT and HC included only turning time (P < 0.006) and step-to-step correlation (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: While high correlations were found between EncephaLog gait parameters and axial UPDRS items, the pull test was least correlated with EncephaLog measures. Motion sensor data from a smartphone can detect differences in gait and balance measures between PD with and without PI and HC.