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Funded Studies

Assessing Parkinson’s at Home: Contactless Monitoring of Sleep, Motor Symptom Progression and Medication Response

Study Rationale:
The ability to accurately monitor Parkinson’s disease (PD) progression and medication response at home can significantly benefit disease management and drug development. In the past, assessment required that individuals wear sensors, answer questionnaires or perform active tests. Over time, such approaches can suffer from poor adherence and fail individuals with the highest need — including those who are older, have walking issues or thinking and memory changes. This study investigates the feasibility of tracking mobility, sleep and quality of life in a passive, contactless manner by analyzing the radio signals that bounce off individuals’ bodies as they go about their daily lives.

We hypothesize that the Emerald sensor, a novel touchless device, can be employed to effectively assess Parkinson’s severity, progression over time, impact on sleep and medication response without imposing any burden on people with PD.

Study Design:
We will conduct a one-year observational study on 40 people with PD and 20 control volunteers. We will collect continuous readings of gait speed, sleep and other activity-related measurements passively using Emerald sensors, and perform traditional PD assessments — both clinical and self-reported — at the beginning, middle and end of the study. We plan to collect about 20,000 nights of sleep measurements, and over 400,000 gait speed measurements, which will represent the largest at-home dataset of its kind. We will compare the Emerald readings to traditional assessments and assess how changes in these measurements relate to disease progression and medication response.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
Objective, sensitive, continuous and convenient measurement of Parkinson’s health metrics can facilitate shorter clinical trials with fewer patients by increasing the number of reliable measurements, making drug development faster and cheaper. It can also enable more accessible and targeted care, without relying on individuals’ subjective and sporadic reports.

Next Steps for Development:
If successful, we plan to work with clinicians to incorporate at-home Emerald measurements into the standard of care for people with PD. We will also work with pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies to design novel digital biomarkers for PD for use in clinical trials.


  • Dina Katabi, PhD

    Cambridge, MA United States

  • Ray Dorsey, MD, MBA

    Rochester, NY United States

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