Antiparkinsonian medication masks motor signal progression in de novo patients.
Brzezicki MA., Conway N., Sotirakis C., FitzGerald JJ., Antoniades CA.
Patients not yet receiving medication provide insight to drug-naïve early physiology of Parkinson's Disease (PD). Wearable sensors can measure changes in motor features before and after introduction of antiparkinsonian medication. We aimed to identify features of upper limb bradykinesia, postural stability, and gait that measurably progress in de novo PD patients prior to the start of medication, and determine whether these features remain sensitive to progression in the period after commencement of antiparkinsonian medication. Upper limb motion was measured using an inertial sensor worn on a finger, while postural stability and gait were recorded using an array of six wearable sensors. Patients were tested over nine visits at three monthly intervals. The timepoint of start of medication was noted. Three upper limb bradykinetic features (finger tapping speed, pronation supination speed, and pronation supination amplitude) and three gait features (gait speed, arm range of motion, duration of stance phase) were found to progress in unmedicated early-stage PD patients. In all features, progression was masked after the start of medication. Commencing antiparkinsonian medication is known to lead to masking of progression signals in clinical measures in de novo PD patients. In this study, we show that this effect is also observed with digital measures of bradykinetic and gait motor features.