The effects of an individualized smartphone-based exercise program on self-defined motor tasks in Parkinson’s disease: a long-term feasibility study

Lisa Lützow, Isabelle Teckenburg, Veronika Koch, Franz Marxreiter, Jelena Jukic, Sabine Stallforth, Martin Regensburger, Jürgen Winkler, Jochen Klucken, Heiko Gaßner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Exercise therapy is considered effective for the treatment of motor impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, training sessions were cancelled and the implementation of telerehabilitation concepts became a promising solution. The aim of this controlled interventional feasibility study was to evaluate the long-term acceptance and to explore initial effectiveness of a digital, home-based, high-frequency exercise program for PD patients. Training effects were assessed using patient-reported outcome measures combined with sensor-based and clinical scores. Methods: 16 PD patients (smartphone group, SG) completed a home-based, individualized training program over 6–8 months using a smartphone app, remotely supervised by a therapist, and tailored to the patient’s motor impairments and capacity. A control group (CG, n = 16) received medical treatment without participating in digital exercise training. The usability of the app was validated using System Usability Scale (SUS) and User Version of the Mobile Application Rating Scale (uMARS). Outcome measures included among others Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale, part III (UPDRS-III), sensor-based gait parameters derived from standardized gait tests, Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39), and patient-defined motor activities of daily life (M-ADL). Results: Exercise frequency of 74.5% demonstrated high adherence in this cohort. The application obtained 84% in SUS and more than 3.5/5 points in each subcategory of uMARS, indicating excellent usability. The individually assessed additional benefit showed at least 6 out of 10 points (Mean = 8.2 ± 1.3). From a clinical perspective, patient-defined M-ADL improved for 10 out of 16 patients by 15.5% after the training period. The results of the UPDRS-III remained stable in the SG while worsening in the CG by 3.1 points (24%). The PDQ-39 score worsened over 6–8 months by 83% (SG) and 59% (CG) but the subsection mobility showed a smaller decline in the SG (3%) compared to the CG (77%) without reaching significance level for all outcomes. Sensor-based gait parameters remained constant in both groups. Conclusions: Long-term training over 6–8 months with the app is considered feasible and acceptable, representing a cost-effective, individualized approach to complement dopaminergic treatment. This study indicates that personalized, digital, high-frequency training leads to benefits in motor sections of ADL and Quality of Life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
JournalJournal of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2023

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