Smartphones and smartwatches are increasingly being used in the area of health, as new digital health technologies are developed and tested, including in PD. They represent a valid means of remote assessment of health status, by gathering real-world data outside clinic settings.

In the past 10 years, studies have been carried out on the use of smartphones for PD symptom measurement (Little, 2021). This is a promising area, as most people have a smartphone, which, by recording data on the holder through sensors, can be used to measure individual behaviours related to PD. These data can also be transmitted easily and in real-time to the treating physician.

In a study with 960 PwP, Omberg and collaborators found that speeded tapping was “predictive of self-reported PD status” and “correlated with in-clinic evaluation of disease severity when compared with motor Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS)” (Omberg, 2022).

Another study conducted in 316 persons with PD at an early stage used a smartphone and smartwatch to measure bradykinesia, bradyphrenia and speech, tremor, gait and balance through daily self-monitoring. It reported excellent adherence (96.3%) and correlated with corresponding MDS-UPDRS.

By providing reliable and valid estimates of the presence and severity of selected motor and non-motor signs and symptoms, this technology has the potential to represent a valuable instrument not only for self-monitoring PD progression but also to facilitate objective monitoring of symptoms in B1 therapy for PD.

Text author: Sergio Pièche
Page updated - 24/04/23