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UPDRS and PDQ-39 are reliable and valid assessments of quality of life and physical function in persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, these measures were not designed to track day-to-day or week-to-week changes in community activity in persons with PD.


Twelve individuals with PD (stage 1 to 3, Hoehn and Yahr) who were active members of a health and wellness facility were recruited for this study. Investigators collected health history information, asked questions about the amount and frequency of weekly exercise, and assessed motor symptoms and ADL skills using the UPDRS, and provided participants with Step Activity Monitor (SAM). SAM data were collected for a continuous 7-day period.


Participants averaged 8996 steps/day, had an average of 322 minutes of step activity per day, but were inactive (minIA) 77% of their time per day. On the days that participants visited the health and wellness facility they took an average of 802 more steps with 12 minutes more activity per day.


A SAM can be used to capture activity levels in persons with PD. These pilot data indicate that persons with mild to moderate PD can achieve step activity levels similar to healthy older adults.

Ford, Yelisetty, and Bickel are with the Dept of Physical Therapy, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL. Malone and Nyikos are with the Dept of Research and Education, Lakeshore Foundation, Homewood, AL. Walker is with the Dept of Neurology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL.