High-accuracy discrimination of Parkinson’s Disease participants from healthy controls using smartphones

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


    Objective: To test the practicality and effectiveness of cheap, ubiquitous, consumer-grade smartphones to discriminate Parkinson’s disease (PD) subjects from healthy controls, using self-administered tests of gait and postural sway.
    Background: Existing tests for the diagnosis of PD are based on subjective neurological examinations, performed in-clinic. Objective movement symptom severity data, collected using widely-accessible technologies such as smartphones, would enable the remote characterization of PD symptoms based on self-administered, behavioral tests. Smartphones, when backed up by interviews using web-based videoconferencing, could make it feasible for expert neurologists to perform diagnostic testing on large numbers of individuals at low cost. However, to date, the compliance rate of testing using smart-phones has not been assessed.
    Methods: We conducted a one-month controlled study with twenty participants, comprising 10 PD subjects and 10 controls. All participants were provided identical LG Optimus S smartphones, capable of recording tri-axial acceleration. Using these smartphones, patients conducted self-administered, short (less than 5 minute) controlled gait and postural sway tests. We analyzed a wide range of summary measures of gait and postural sway from the accelerometry data. Using statistical machine learning techniques, we identified discriminating patterns in the summary measures in order to distinguish PD subjects from controls.
    Results: Compliance was high all 20 participants performed an average of 3.1 tests per day for the duration of the study. Using this test data, we demonstrated cross-validated sensitivity of 98% and specificity of 98% in discriminating PD subjects from healthy controls.
    Conclusions: Using consumer-grade smartphone accelerometers, it is possible to distinguish PD from healthy controls with high accuracy. Since these smartphones are inexpensive (around $30 each) and easily available, and the tests are highly non-invasive and objective, we envisage that this kind of smartphone-based testing could radically increase the reach and effectiveness of experts in diagnosing PD.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberPoster 30
    Pages (from-to)e11
    Number of pages1
    JournalMovement Disorders
    Issue number10
    Early online date13 Sept 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


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