A Deep Learning Approach for Automatic and Objective Grading of the Motor Impairment Severity in Parkinson's Disease for Use in Tele-Assessments

Mehar Singh, Prithvi Prakash, Rachneet Kaur, Richard Sowers, James Robert Brašić, Manuel Enrique Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wearable sensors provide a tool for at-home monitoring of motor impairment progression in neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease (PD). This study examined the ability of deep learning approaches to grade the motor impairment severity in a modified version of the Movement Disorders Society-sponsored revision of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) using low-cost wearable sensors. We hypothesized that expanding training datasets with motion data from healthy older adults (HOAs) and initializing classifiers with weights learned from unsupervised pre-training would lead to an improvement in performance when classifying lower vs. higher motor impairment relative to a baseline deep learning model (XceptionTime). This study evaluated the change in classification performance after using expanded training datasets with HOAs and transferring weights from unsupervised pre-training compared to a baseline deep learning model (XceptionTime) using both upper extremity (finger tapping, hand movements, and pronation-supination movements of the hands) and lower extremity (toe tapping and leg agility) tasks consistent with the MDS-UPDRS. Overall, we found a 12.2% improvement in accuracy after expanding the training dataset and pre-training using max-vote inference on hand movement tasks. Moreover, we found that the classification performance improves for every task except toe tapping after the addition of HOA training data. These findings suggest that learning from HOA motion data can implicitly improve the representations of PD motion data for the purposes of motor impairment classification. Further, our results suggest that unsupervised pre-training can improve the performance of motor impairment classifiers without any additional annotated PD data, which may provide a viable solution for a widely deployable telemedicine solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 6 2023


  • artificial intelligence
  • wearables
  • tremor
  • supination
  • rigidity
  • pronation
  • postural instability
  • multidisciplinary
  • movement disorders
  • machine learning
  • bradykinesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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