Tunca, Salur, Ersoy (2020) Deep Learning for Fall Risk Assessment With Inertial Sensors: Utilizing Domain Knowledge in Spatio-Temporal Gait Parameters IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics 24(7) 1994-2005
Fall risk assessment is essential to predict and prevent falls in geriatric populations, especially patients with life-long conditions like neurological disorders. Inertial sensor-based pervasive gait analysis systems have become viable means to facilitate continuous fall risk assessment in non-hospital settings. However, a gait analysis system is not sufficient to detect the characteristics leading to increased fall risk, and powerful inference models are required to detect the underlying factors specific to fall risk. Machine learning models and especially the recently proposed deep learning methods offer the needed predictive power. Deep neural networks have the potential to produce models that can operate directly on the raw data, thus alleviating the need for feature engineering. However, the domain knowledge inherent in the well-established spatio-temporal gait parameters are still valuable to help a model achieve high inference accuracies. In this study, we explore deep learning methods, specifically long short-term memory (LSTM) neural networks, for the problem of fall risk assessment. We utilize sequences of spatio-temporal gait parameters extracted by an inertial sensor-based gait analysis system as input features. To quantify the performance of the proposed approach, we compare it with more traditional machine learning methods. The proposed LSTM model, trained with a gait dataset collected from 60 neurological disorder patients, achieves a superior classification accuracy of 92.1% on a separate test dataset collected from 16 patients. This study serves as one of the first attempts to employ deep learning approaches in this domain and the results demonstrate their potential.