Detecting and monitoring the symptoms of Parkinson's disease using smartphones: a pilot study

S. Arora, V. Venkataraman, A. Zhang, S. Donohue, K.M. Biglan, E.R. Dorsey, M.A. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Remote, non-invasive and objective tests that can be used to support expert diagnosis for Parkinson's disease (PD) are lacking. Methods: Participants underwent baseline in-clinic assessments, including the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), and were provided smartphones with an Android operating system that contained a smartphone application that assessed voice, posture, gait, finger tapping, and response time. Participants then took the smart phones home to perform the five tasks four times a day for a month. Once a week participants had a remote (telemedicine) visit with a Parkinson disease specialist in which a modified (excluding assessments of rigidity and balance) UPDRS performed. Using statistical analyses of the five tasks recorded using the smartphone from 10 individuals with PD and 10 controls, we sought to: (1) discriminate whether the participant had PD and (2) predict the modified motor portion of the UPDRS. Results: Twenty participants performed an average of 2.7 tests per day (68.9% adherence) for the study duration (average of 34.4 days) in a home and community setting. The analyses of the five tasks differed between those with Parkinson disease and those without. In discriminating participants with PD from controls, the mean sensitivity was 96.2% (SD 2%) and mean specificity was 96.9% (SD 1.9%). The mean error in predicting the modified motor component of the UPDRS (range 11-34) was 1.26 UPDRS points (SD 0.16). Conclusion: Measuring PD symptoms via a smartphone is feasible and has potential value as a diagnostic support tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-653
Number of pages4
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number6
Early online date7 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Supplementary data related to this article can be found at


  • diagnostic test assessment
  • motor assessment
  • Parkinson's disease
  • smartphone
  • speech


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