Background: Parkinson disease (PD) is a debilitating and chronic neurodegenerative disease resulting in ambulation difficulties. Natural walking activity often declines early in disease progression despite the relative stability of motor impairments. In this study, we propose a paradigm shift with a "connected behavioral approach" that targets real-world walking using cognitive-behavioral training and mobile health (mHealth) technology. Methods/design: The Walking and mHealth to Increase Participation in Parkinson Disease (WHIP-PD) study is a twelve-month, dual site, two-arm, randomized controlled trial recruiting 148 participants with early to mid-stage PD. Participants will be randomly assigned to connected behavioral or active control conditions. Both conditions will include a customized program of goal-oriented walking, walking-enhancing strengthening exercises, and eight in-person visits with a physical therapist. Participants in the connected behavioral condition also will (1) receive cognitive-behavioral training to promote self-efficacy for routine walking behavior and (2) use a mHealth software application to manage their program and communicate remotely with their physical therapist. Active control participants will receive no cognitive-behavioral training and manage their program on paper. Evaluations will occur at baseline, three-, six-, and twelve-months and include walking assessments, self-efficacy questionnaires, and seven days of activity monitoring. Primary outcomes will include the change between baseline and twelve months in overall amount of walking activity (mean number of steps per day) and amount of moderate intensity walking activity (mean number of minutes per day in which > 100 steps were accumulated). Secondary outcomes will include change in walking capacity as measured by the six-minute walk test and ten-meter walk test. We also will examine if self-efficacy mediates change in amount of walking activity and if change in amount of walking activity mediates change in walking capacity. Discussion: We expect this study to show the connected behavioral approach will be more effective than the active control condition in increasing the amount and intensity of real-world walking activity and improving walking capacity. Determining effective physical activity interventions for persons with PD is important for preserving mobility and essential for maintaining quality of life. Clinical trials registration NCT03517371, May 7, 2018. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03517371. Date of registration: May 7, 2018. Protocol version: Original.
- Cognitive behavioral training
- Mobile health
- Parkinson disease