Using wearables to assess bradykinesia and rigidity in patients with Parkinson’s disease: a focused, narrative review of the literature

Itay Teshuva, Inbar Hillel, Eran Gazit, Nir Giladi, Anat Mirelman, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The potential of using wearable technologies for the objective assessment of motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD) has gained prominence recently. Nonetheless, compared to tremor and gait impairment, less emphasis has been placed on the quantification of bradykinesia and rigidity. This review aimed to consolidate the existing research on objective measurement of bradykinesia and rigidity in PD through the use of wearables, focusing on the continuous monitoring of these two symptoms in free-living environments. A search of PubMed was conducted through a combination of keyword and MeSH searches. We also searched the IEEE, Google Scholar, Embase, and Scopus databases to ensure thorough results and to minimize the chances of missing relevant studies. Papers published after the year 2000 with sample sizes greater than five were included. Studies were assessed for quality and information was extracted regarding the devices used and their location on the body, the setting and duration of the study, the “gold standard” used as a reference for validation, the metrics used, and the results of each paper. Thirty-one and eight studies met the search criteria and evaluated bradykinesia and rigidity, respectively. Several studies reported strong associations between wearable-based measures and the gold-standard references for bradykinesia, and, to a lesser extent, rigidity. Only a few, pilot studies investigated the measurement of bradykinesia and rigidity in the home and free-living settings. While the current results are promising for the future of wearables, additional work is needed on their validation and adaptation in ecological, free-living settings. Doing so has the potential to improve the assessment and treatment of motor fluctuations and symptoms of PD more generally through real-time objective monitoring of bradykinesia and rigidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699–710
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019


  • Accelerometer
  • Bradykinesia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rigidity
  • Wearables


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