The gait of patients with Parkinson’s Disease is typically assessed in a laboratory but with current developments in sensor technology, their gait could be assessed in the home environment as well. But how comparable are these two? Researchers from University Hospital Erlangen studied this question.
In a reliability analysis, they compared standardized and supervised sensor-based gait tests between hospital and home condition in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). To make sure results were not affected by test condition or medication use, all gait test were controlled for investigator, time of day, and medication. Interestingly, gait parameters reflecting bradykinesia, short steps and shuffling of gait showed excellent reliability between both conditions. However, PD patients’ gait at home was slower, strides were shorter and shuffling was more present compared to the gait tests at hospital, even though clinical ratings were comparable. These results suggest that gait outcomes recorded in standardized tests at home are closely related to those captured at hospital but cannot be directly compared. These findings can be set as a clinically relevant reference for home-based recordings and may be the link between standardized gait tests in the hospital and free-living, continuous gait in everyday life.