Free-living monitoring of Parkinson's disease: Lessons from the field

Silvia Del Din, Alan Godfrey, Claudia Mazzà, Sue Lord, Lynn Rochester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Wearable technology comprises miniaturized sensors (eg, accelerometers) worn on the body and/or paired with mobile devices (eg, smart phones) allowing continuous patient monitoring in unsupervised, habitual environments (termed free-living). Wearable technologies are revolutionizing approaches to health care as a result of their utility, accessibility, and affordability. They are positioned to transform Parkinson's disease (PD) management through the provision of individualized, comprehensive, and representative data. This is particularly relevant in PD where symptoms are often triggered by task and free-living environmental challenges that cannot be replicated with sufficient veracity elsewhere. This review concerns use of wearable technology in free-living environments for people with PD. It outlines the potential advantages of wearable technologies and evidence for these to accurately detect and measure clinically relevant features including motor symptoms, falls risk, freezing of gait, gait, functional mobility, and physical activity. Technological limitations and challenges are highlighted, and advances concerning broader aspects are discussed. Recommendations to overcome key challenges are made. To date there is no fully validated system to monitor clinical features or activities in free-living environments. Robust accuracy and validity metrics for some features have been reported, and wearable technology may be used in these cases with a degree of confidence. Utility and acceptability appears reasonable, although testing has largely been informal. Key recommendations include adopting a multidisciplinary approach for standardizing definitions, protocols, and outcomes. Robust validation of developed algorithms and sensor-based metrics is required along with testing of utility. These advances are required before widespread clinical adoption of wearable technology can be realized. � 2016 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1313
Number of pages21
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number9
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


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