Research Study Abstract

Remote Physical Activity Monitoring in Neurological Disease: A Systematic Review

  • Published on April 28, 2016

Objective: To perform a systematic review of studies using remote physical activity monitoring in neurological diseases, highlighting advances and determining gaps.

Methods: Studies were systematically identified in PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL and SCOPUS from January 2004 to December 2014 that monitored physical activity for 24 hours in adults with neurological diseases. Studies that measured only involuntary motor activity (tremor, seizures), energy expenditure or sleep were excluded. Feasibility, findings, and protocols were examined.

Results: 137 studies met inclusion criteria in multiple sclerosis (MS) (61 studies); stroke (41); Parkinson’s Disease (PD) (20); dementia (11); traumatic brain injury (2) and ataxia (1). Physical activity levels measured by remote monitoring are consistently low in people with MS, stroke and dementia, and patterns of physical activity are altered in PD. In MS, decreased ambulatory activity assessed via remote monitoring is associated with greater disability and lower quality of life. In stroke, remote measures of upper limb function and ambulation are associated with functional recovery following rehabilitation and goal-directed interventions. In PD, remote monitoring may help to predict falls. In dementia, remote physical activity measures correlate with disease severity and can detect wandering.

Conclusions: These studies show that remote physical activity monitoring is feasible in neurological diseases, including in people with moderate to severe neurological disability. Remote monitoring can be a psychometrically sound and responsive way to assess physical activity in neurological disease. Further research is needed to ensure these tools provide meaningful information in the context of specific neurological disorders and patterns of neurological disability.


  • Valerie A. J. Block 1
  • Erica Pitsch 2
  • Peggy Tahir 3
  • Bruce A. C. Cree 4
  • Diane D. Allen 1
  • Jeffrey M. Gelfand 4


  • 1

    Graduate Program in Physical Therapy, University of California San Francisco/ San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, United States of America

  • 2

    Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America

  • 3

    University of California San Francisco Library, San Francisco, California, United States of America

  • 4

    Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroinflammation Center, Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America




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