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- PublicationQuantitative clinical assessment of motor function during and following LSVT-BIG® therapyBackground LSVT-BIG® is an intensively delivered, amplitude-oriented exercise therapy reported to improve mobility in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, questions remain surrounding the efficacy of LSVT-BIG® when compared with similar exercise therapies. Instrumented clinical tests using body-worn sensors can provide a means to objectively monitor patient progression with therapy by quantifying features of motor function, yet research exploring the feasibility of this approach has been limited to date. The aim of this study was to use accelerometer-instrumented clinical tests to quantify features of gait, balance and fine motor control in individuals with PD, in order to examine motor function during and following LSVT-BIG® therapy. Methods Twelve individuals with PD undergoing LSVT-BIG® therapy, eight non-exercising PD controls and 14 healthy controls were recruited to participate in the study. Functional mobility was examined using features derived from accelerometry recorded during five instrumented clinical tests: 10 m walk, Timed-Up-and-Go, Sit-to-Stand, quiet stance, and finger tapping. PD subjects undergoing therapy were assessed before, each week during, and up to 13 weeks following LSVT-BIG®. Results Accelerometry data captured significant improvements in 10 m walk and Timed-Up-and-Go times with LSVT-BIG® (p < 0.001), accompanied by increased stride length. Temporal features of the gait cycle were significantly lower following therapy, though no change was observed with measures of asymmetry or stride variance. The total number of Sit-to-Stand transitions significantly increased with LSVT-BIG® (p < 0.001), corresponding to a significant reduction of time spent in each phase of the Sit-to-Stand cycle. No change in measures related to postural or fine motor control was observed with LSVT-BIG®. PD subjects undergoing LSVT-BIG® showed significant improvements in 10 m walk (p < 0.001) and Timed-Up-and-Go times (p = 0.004) over a four-week period when compared to non-exercising PD controls, who showed no week-to-week improvement in any task examined. Conclusions This study demonstrates the potential for wearable sensors to objectively quantify changes in motor function in response to therapeutic exercise interventions in PD. The observed improvements in accelerometer-derived features provide support for instrumenting gait and sit-to-stand tasks, and demonstrate a rescaling of the speed-amplitude relationship during gait in PD following LSVT-BIG®.
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