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Identifying balance impairments in people with Parkinson's disease using video and wearable sensors

Stack, E., Agarwal, V., King, R., Burnett, M., Tahavori, F., Janko, B., Harwin, W., Ashburn, A. and Kunkel, D. (2018) Identifying balance impairments in people with Parkinson's disease using video and wearable sensors. Gait & posture, 62. pp. 321-326. ISSN 1879-2219

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.03.047


Falls and near falls are common among people with Parkinson's (PwP). To date, most wearable sensor research focussed on fall detection, few studies explored if wearable sensors can detect instability. Can instability (caution or near-falls) be detected using wearable sensors in comparison to video analysis? Twenty-four people (aged 60-86) with and without Parkinson's were recruited from community groups. Movements (e.g. walking, turning, transfers and reaching) were observed in the gait laboratory and/or at home; recorded using clinical measures, video and five wearable sensors (attached on the waist, ankles and wrists). After defining 'caution' and 'instability', two researchers evaluated video data and a third the raw wearable sensor data; blinded to each other's evaluations. Agreement between video and sensor data was calculated on stability, timing, step count and strategy. Data was available for 117 performances: 82 (70%) appeared stable on video. Ratings agreed in 86/117 cases (74%). Highest agreement was noted for chair transfer, timed up and go test and 3 m walks. Video analysts noted caution (slow, contained movements, safety-enhancing postures and concentration) and/or instability (saving reactions, stopping after stumbling or veering) in 40/134 performances (30%): raw wearable sensor data identified 16/35 performances rated cautious or unstable (sensitivity 46%) and 70/82 rated stable (specificity 85%). There was a 54% chance that a performance identified from wearable sensors as cautious/unstable was so; rising to 80% for stable movements. Agreement between wearable sensor and video data suggested that wearable sensors can detect subtle instability and near-falls. Caution and instability were observed in nearly a third of performances, suggesting that simple, mildly challenging actions, with clearly defined start- and end-points, may be most amenable to monitoring during free-living at home. Using the genuine near-falls recorded, work continues to automatically detect subtle instability using algorithms. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.]

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:76626
Uncontrolled Keywords:Fall prevention, Imbalance, Parkinson's, Wearable sensors


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