Using wearable sensors and machine learning to automatically detect freezing of gait during a fog-provoking test

Tal Reches, Moria Dagan, Talia Herman, Eran Gazit, Natalia A. Gouskova, Nir Giladi, Brad Manor, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Freezing of gait (FOG) is a debilitating motor phenomenon that is common among individuals with advanced Parkinson's disease. Objective and sensitive measures are needed to better quantify FOG. The present work addresses this need by leveraging wearable devices and machine-learning methods to develop and evaluate automated detection of FOG and quantification of its severity. Seventy-one subjects with FOG completed a FOG-provoking test while wearing three wearable sensors (lower back and each ankle). Subjects were videotaped before (OFF state) and after (ON state) they took their antiparkinsonian medications. Annotations of the videos provided the “ground-truth” for FOG detection. A leave-one-patient-out validation process with a training set of 57 subjects resulted in 84.1% sensitivity, 83.4% specificity, and 85.0% accuracy for FOG detection. Similar results were seen in an independent test set (data from 14 other subjects). Two derived outcomes, percent time frozen and number of FOG episodes, were associated with self-report of FOG. Bother derived-metrics were higher in the OFF state than in the ON state and in the most challenging level of the FOG-provoking test, compared to the least challenging level. These results suggest that this automated machine-learning approach can objectively assess FOG and that its outcomes are responsive to therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4474
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2020


  • Accelerometer
  • Freezing of gait
  • Gyroscope
  • Machine learning
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Wearables


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