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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 1/2019

Movement smoothness during a functional mobility task in subjects with Parkinson’s disease and freezing of gait – an analysis using inertial measurement units

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation > Ausgabe 1/2019
Camila Pinto, Clarissa Pedrini Schuch, Gustavo Balbinot, Ana Paula Salazar, Ewald Max Hennig, Ana Francisca Rozin Kleiner, Aline Souza Pagnussat
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12984-019-0579-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Impairments of functional mobility may affect locomotion and quality of life in subjects with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Movement smoothness measurements, such as the spectral arc length (SPARC), are novel approaches to quantify movement quality. Previous studies analyzed SPARC in simple walking conditions. However, SPARC outcomes during functional mobility tasks in subjects with PD and freezing of gait (FOG) were never investigated. This study aimed to analyze SPARC during the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test in individuals with PD and FOG.


Thirty-one participants with PD and FOG and six healthy controls were included. SPARC during TUG test was calculated for linear and angular accelerations using an inertial measurement unit system. SPARC data were correlated with clinical parameters: motor section of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, Hoehn & Yahr scale, Freezing of Gait Questionnaire, and TUG test.


We reported lower SPARC values (reduced smoothness) during the entire TUG test, turn and stand to sit in subjects with PD and FOG, compared to healthy controls. Unlike healthy controls, individuals with PD and FOG displayed a broad spectral range that encompassed several dominant frequencies. SPARC metrics also correlated with all the above-mentioned clinical parameters.


SPARC values provide valid and relevant clinical data about movement quality (e.g., smoothness) of subjects with PD and FOG during a functional mobility test.
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