The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of external cues on arm swing amplitude and trunk rotation in Parkinson’s disease. The subjects were 13 elderly patients with Parkinson’s disease. Subjects walked under four different conditions in a random order: no cue, visual cue, auditory cue, and combined cue. The auditory cue velocity consisted of a metronome beat 20% greater than the subject’s general gait speed. For the visual cue condition, bright yellow colored strips of tape placed on the floor at intervals equal to 40% of each subject’s height. A motion analysis system was used to measure arm swing amplitude and trunk rotation during walking. There was a significant difference in the kinematic variables (arm swing amplitude) between different cues, but there was not a significant difference in the kinematic variables with respect to the trunk rotation.
The findings of this study indicate that patients with Parkinson’s disease are likely to focus attention on auditory cues. The measurement of arm and trunk kinematics during gait by auditory cues can increase the available methods for the analysis of complex motor programs in movement disorders.