Continuous home monitoring of Parkinson’s disease using inertial sensors: A systematic review

Marco Sica*, Salvatore Tedesco, Colum Crowe, Lorna Kenny, Kevin Moore, Suzanne Timmons, John Barton, Brendan O'Flynn, Sokratis Komaris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder of the central nervous system that deteriorates motor functions, while it is also accompanied by a large diversity of non-motor symptoms such as cognitive impairment and mood changes, hallucinations, and sleep disturbance. Parkinsonism is evaluated during clinical examinations and appropriate medical treatments are directed towards alleviating symptoms. Tri-axial accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers could be adopted to support clinicians in the decisionmaking process by objectively quantifying the patient's condition. In this context, at-home data collections aim to capture motor function during daily living and unobstructedly assess the patients' status and the disease's symptoms for prolonged time periods. This review aims to collate existing literature on PD monitoring using inertial sensors while it focuses on papers with at least one free-living data capture unsupervised either directly or via videotapes. Twenty-four papers were selected at the end of the process: Fourteen investigated gait impairments, eight of which focused on walking, three on turning, two on falls, and one on physical activity; ten articles on the other hand examined symptoms, including bradykinesia, tremor, dyskinesia, and motor state fluctuations in the on/off phenomenon. In summary, inertial sensors are capable of gathering data over a long period of time and have the potential to facilitate the monitoring of people with Parkinson's, providing relevant information about their motor status. Concerning gait impairments, kinematic parameters (such as duration of gait cycle, step length, and velocity) were typically used to discern PD from healthy subjects, whereas for symptoms' assessment, researchers were capable of achieving accuracies of over 90% in a free-living environment. Further investigations should be focused on the development of ad-hoc hardware and software capable of providing real-time feedback to clinicians and patients. In addition, features such as the wearability of the system and user comfort, set-up process, and instructions for use, need to be strongly considered in the development of wearable sensors for PD monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0246528
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Sica et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding Information:
This manuscript has emanated from research supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020. Aspects of this work have been supported in part by INTERREG NPA funded project SenDOC. Aspects of this publication were supported by Enterprise Ireland and Abbvie Inc. under grant agreement no. IP 2017 0625. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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