Detecting early-stage Parkinson’s disease from gait data

Parvathy Nair, Maryam Shojaei Baghini, Gita Pendharkar, Hoam Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder with an estimated 10 million people worldwide living with PD. Since early signs are benign, many patients go undiagnosed until the symptoms get severe and the treatment becomes more difficult. The symptoms start intermittently and gradually become continuous as the disease progresses. In order to detect and classify these minute differences between gaits in early PD patients, we propose to use dynamic time warping (DTW). For a given set of gait data from a patient, the DTW algorithm computes the difference between any two gait cycles in the form of a warping path, which reveals small time differences between gait cycles. Once the time-warping information between all possible pairs of gait cycles is used as the main source of gait features, K-means clustering is used to extract the final features. These final features are fed to a simple logistic regression to easily and successfully detect early PD symptoms, which was reported as challenging using conventional statistical features. In addition, the use of DTW ensures that the obtained results are not affected by the differences in the style and speed of walking of a subject. Our approach is validated for the gait data from 83 subjects at early stages of PD, 10 subjects at moderate stages of PD, and 73 controls using the Leave-One-Out and N-fold cross-validation techniques, with a detection accuracy of over 98%. The high classification accuracy validated from a large data set suggests that these new features from DTW can be effectively used to help clinicians diagnose the disease at the earliest. Even though PD is not completely curable, early diagnosis would help clinicians to start the treatment from the beginning thereby reducing the intensity of symptoms at later stages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287–1296
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2023


  • binary classification
  • dynamic time warping
  • early-stage detection
  • gait analysis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • wearable sensors

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