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Brief Report

Step Length Is a Promising Progression Marker in Parkinson’s Disease

Department of Neurology, Kiel University, Arnold-Heller-Straße 3, 24105 Kiel, Germany
Faculty of Engineering, Kiel University, Kaiserstraße 2, 24143 Kiel, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Markos Tsipouras
Sensors 2021, 21(7), 2292;
Received: 23 February 2021 / Revised: 12 March 2021 / Accepted: 18 March 2021 / Published: 25 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Sensing Technology Applied in Parkinson Disease)
Current research on Parkinson’s disease (PD) is increasingly concerned with the identification of objective and specific markers to make reliable statements about the effect of therapy and disease progression. Parameters from inertial measurement units (IMUs) are objective and accurate, and thus an interesting option to be included in the regular assessment of these patients. In this study, 68 patients with PD (PwP) in Hoehn and Yahr (H&Y) stages 1–4 were assessed with two gait tasks—20 m straight walk and circular walk—using IMUs. In an ANCOVA model, we found a significant and large effect of the H&Y scores on step length in both tasks, and only a minor effect on step time. This study provides evidence that from the two potentially most important gait parameters currently accessible with wearable technology under supervised assessment strategies, step length changes substantially over the course of PD, while step time shows surprisingly little change in the progression of PD. These results show the importance of carefully evaluating quantitative gait parameters to make assumptions about disease progression, and the potential of the granular evaluation of symptoms such as gait deficits when monitoring chronic progressive diseases such as PD. View Full-Text
Keywords: gait; Parkinson’s disease; inertial measurement unit; movement disorders gait; Parkinson’s disease; inertial measurement unit; movement disorders
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MDPI and ACS Style

Welzel, J.; Wendtland, D.; Warmerdam, E.; Romijnders, R.; Elshehabi, M.; Geritz, J.; Berg, D.; Hansen, C.; Maetzler, W. Step Length Is a Promising Progression Marker in Parkinson’s Disease. Sensors 2021, 21, 2292.

AMA Style

Welzel J, Wendtland D, Warmerdam E, Romijnders R, Elshehabi M, Geritz J, Berg D, Hansen C, Maetzler W. Step Length Is a Promising Progression Marker in Parkinson’s Disease. Sensors. 2021; 21(7):2292.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Welzel, Julius, David Wendtland, Elke Warmerdam, Robbin Romijnders, Morad Elshehabi, Johanna Geritz, Daniela Berg, Clint Hansen, and Walter Maetzler. 2021. "Step Length Is a Promising Progression Marker in Parkinson’s Disease" Sensors 21, no. 7: 2292.

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