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Parkinson's disease (PD) predominantly alters the motor performance of the affected individuals. In particular, the loss of dopaminergic neurons compromises the speed, the automaticity and fluidity of movements. As the disease evolves, PD patient's motion becomes slower and tremoric and the response to medication fluctuates along the day. In addition, the presence of involuntary movements deteriorates voluntary movement in advanced state of the disease. These changes in the motion can be detected by studying the variation of the signals recorded by accelerometers attached in the limbs and belt of the patients. The analysis of the most significant changes in these signals make possible to build an individualized motor profile of the disease, allowing doctors to personalize the medication intakes and consequently improving the response of the patient to the treatment. Several works have been done in a laboratory and supervised environments providing solid results; this work focused on the design of unsupervised method for the assessment of gait in PD patients. The development of a reliable quantitative tool for long-term monitoring of PD symptoms would allow the accurate detection of the clinical status during the different PD stages and the evaluation of motor complications. Besides, it would be very useful both for routine clinical care as well as for novel therapies testing.
Date of Conference: Aug. 30 2011-Sept. 3 2011