Sensor-based and patient-based assessment of daily-living physical activity in people with parkinson’s disease: Do motor subtypes play a role?

Irina Galperin, Talia Herman, Mira Assad, Natalie Ganz, Anat Mirelman, Nir Giladi, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The benefits of daily-living physical activity are clear. Nonetheless, the relationship between physical activity levels and motor subtypes of Parkinson’s disease (PD), i.e., tremor dominant (TD) and postural instability gait difficulty (PIGD), have not been well-studied. It is also unclear if patient perspectives and motor symptom severity are related to objective, sensor-based assessment of daily-living activity in those subtypes. To address these questions, total daily-living physical activity was quantified in 73 patients with PD and 29 healthy controls using a 3D-accelerometer worn on the lower back for at least three days. We found that individuals with the PIGD subtype were significantly less active than healthy older adults (p = 0.007), unlike individuals with the TD subtype. Among the PIGD subtype, higher daily physical activity was negatively associated with more severe ON bradykinesia (rS =-0.499, p = 0.002), motor symptoms (higher ON MDS-UPDRS (Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale motor examination)-III scores), gait difficulties (rS =-0.502, p = 0.002), motor complications (rS = 0.466, p = 0.004), and balance (rS = 0.519, p = 0.001). In contrast, among the TD subtype, disease-related characteristics were not related to daily-living physical activity. Intriguingly, physical activity was not related to self-report of ADL difficulties (scores of the MDS-UPDRS Parts I or II) in both motor subtypes. These findings highlight the importance of objective daily-living physical activity monitoring and suggest that self-report does not necessarily reflect objective physical activity levels. Furthermore, the results point to important differences in factors related to physical activity in PD motor subtypes, setting the stage for personalized treatment programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7015
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometer
  • Motor subtypes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Physical activity
  • Wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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