Quantifying Motor Impairment in Movement Disorders.
FitzGerald JJ., Lu Z., Jareonsettasin P., Antoniades CA.
Until recently the assessment of many movement disorders has relied on clinical rating scales that despite careful design are inherently subjective and non-linear. This makes accurate and truly observer-independent quantification difficult and limits the use of sensitive parametric statistical methods. At last, devices capable of measuring neurological problems quantitatively are becoming readily available. Examples include the use of oculometers to measure eye movements and accelerometers to measure tremor. Many applications are being developed for use on smartphones. The benefits include not just more accurate disease quantification, but also consistency of data for longitudinal studies, accurate stratification of patients for entry into trials, and the possibility of automated data capture for remote follow-up. In this mini review, we will look at movement disorders with a particular focus on Parkinson's disease, describe some of the limitations of existing clinical evaluation tools, and illustrate the ways in which objective metrics have already been successful.