Smartwatch, Smartphone Can Assess Parkinson Disease Progression

Change in digital measures over 12 months generally larger than corresponding change in individual items of the Movement Disorder Society scale
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

MONDAY, June 24, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Gait and tremor measures derived from a commercially available smartwatch and smartphone could help evaluate the efficacy of therapies for Parkinson disease (PD), according to a study published online June 12 in npj: Parkinson's Disease.

Jamie L. Adams, M.D., from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues examined the longitudinal changes in gait, tremor, finger tapping, and speech over 12 months in a multicenter observational study using a generalized additive model. All measurements were included for participants before medication initiation.

The researchers observed significant declines in several measures of gait, an increase in the proportion of the day with tremor, modest changes in speech, and few changes in psychomotor function among individuals with early PD over one year. The average arm swing in-clinic decreased from 25.9 degrees at baseline to 19.9 degrees at month 12 as measured by the smartwatch. There was an increase seen in the proportion of awake time an individual with early PD had tremor, from 19.3 to 25.6 percent. A decrease in activity was seen, as measured by the number of steps taken per day, from 3,052 to 2,331, but this analysis was restricted to 10 participants. Over 12 months, the change of these digital measures was generally larger than the corresponding change in individual items of the Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, but was not greater than the change in the overall scale.

"This study brings us closer to having meaningful digital measures for future use in Parkinson's clinical trials, which may speed up therapeutic development and get treatments to our patients faster," Adams said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Abstract/Full Text

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