Classification of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor based on balance and gait characteristics from wearable motion sensors via machine learning techniques: A data-driven approach

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© 2020 The Author(s). Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET) are movement disorders that can have similar clinical characteristics including tremor and gait difficulty. These disorders can be misdiagnosed leading to delay in appropriate treatment. The aim of the study was to determine whether balance and gait variables obtained with wearable inertial motion sensors can be utilized to differentiate between PD and ET using machine learning. Additionally, we compared classification performances of several machine learning models. Methods: This retrospective study included balance and gait variables collected during the instrumented stand and walk test from people with PD (n = 524) and with ET (n = 43). Performance of several machine learning techniques including neural networks, support vector machine, k-nearest neighbor, decision tree, random forest, and gradient boosting, were compared with a dummy model or logistic regression using F1-scores. Results: Machine learning models classified PD and ET based on balance and gait characteristics better than the dummy model (F1-score = 0.48) or logistic regression (F1-score = 0.53). The highest F1-score was 0.61 of neural network, followed by 0.59 of gradient boosting, 0.56 of random forest, 0.55 of support vector machine, 0.53 of decision tree, and 0.49 of k-nearest neighbor. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the utility of machine learning models to classify different movement disorders based on balance and gait characteristics collected from wearable sensors. Future studies using a well-balanced data set are needed to confirm the potential clinical utility of machine learning models to discern between PD and ET.

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

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