Remote Assessment of Parkinson’s Disease Symptom Severity Using the Simulated Cellular Mobile Telephone Network

Thanasis Tsanas, Max A. Little, Lorraine O. Ramig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Telemonitoring of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) has attracted considerable research interest because of its potential to make a lasting, positive impact on the life of patients and their carers. Purpose-built devices have been developed that record various signals which can be associated with average PD symptom severity, as quantified on standard clinical metrics such as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Speech signals are particularly promising in this regard, because they can be easily recorded without the use of expensive, dedicated hardware. Previous studies have demonstrated replication of UPDRS to within less than 2 points of a clinical raters’ assessment of symptom severity, using high-quality speech signals collected using dedicated telemonitoring hardware. Here, we investigate the potential of using the standard voice-over-GSM (2G) or UMTS (3G) cellular mobile telephone networks for PD telemonitoring, networks that, together, have greater than 5 billion subscribers worldwide. We test the robustness of this approach using a simulated noisy mobile communication network over which speech signals are transmitted, and approximately 6000 recordings from 42 PD subjects. We show that UPDRS can be estimated to within
less than 3.5 points difference from the clinical raters’ assessment, which is clinically useful given that the inter-rater variability for UPDRS can be as high as 4-5 UPDRS points. This provides compelling evidence that the existing voice telephone network has potential towards facilitating inexpensive, mass-scale PD
symptom telemonitoring applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11024-11036
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021

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