Turning in Parkinson’s disease patients and controls: the effect of auditory cues.

Willems AM, Nieuwboer A, Chavret F, Desloovere K, Dom R, Rochester L, Kwakkel G, van Wegen E, Jones D

This study examines the turning characteristics in persons with Parkinsons Disease (PwPD) and explores the effect of rhythmic auditory cues while turning. Turning parameters were collected from a 180 degrees left U-turn during a noncued and a cued condition, using a 3D measuring system. Auditory cues were supplied with a metronome at a rhythm equaling the subject's comfortable step frequency during straight line walking. Results showed that in contrast to controls, the PwPD used a wider turning-arc and took smaller, narrower steps. In addition, they demonstrated a higher Coefficient of Variation of step duration compared to controls. The "wide-arc" turning strategy of PwPD was more prominent in freezers than in nonfreezers. Auditory cues reduced the CV of step duration in PwPD during turning.

Auditory cueing reduces the gait-timing variability during turning, but persons with Parkinsons Disease maintain a wider arc to turn compared with controls.

Movement Disorders, 2007, 22(13), 1871-8

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