Background: Accelerometers are included in a wide range of devices that monitor and track physical activity for health-related applications. However, the clinical utility of the information embedded in their rich time-series data has been greatly understudied and has yet to be fully realized. Here, we examine the potential for fractal complexity of actigraphy data to serve as a clinical biomarker for mortality risk. Methods: We use detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) to analyze actigraphy data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; n = 11,694). The DFA method measures fractal complexity (signal self-affinity across time-scales) as correlations between the amplitude of signal fluctuations in time-series data across a range of time-scales. The slope, α, relating the fluctuation amplitudes to the time-scales over which they were measured describes the complexity of the signal. Results: Fractal complexity of physical activity (α) decreased significantly with age (p = 1.29E-6) and was lower in women compared with men (p = 1.79E-4). Higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in older adults and in women were associated with greater fractal complexity. In adults aged 50-79 years, lower fractal complexity of activity (α) was associated with greater mortality (hazard ratio = 0.64; 95% confidence interval = 0.49-0.82) after adjusting for age, exercise engagement, chronic diseases, and other covariates associated with mortality. Conclusions: Wearable accelerometers can provide a noninvasive biomarker of physiological aging and mortality risk after adjusting for other factors strongly associated with mortality. Thus, this fractal analysis of accelerometer signals provides a novel clinical application for wearable accelerometers, advancing efforts for remote monitoring of physiological health by clinicians.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - Aug 16 2019|
- Detrended fluctuation analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology