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Obstacle crossing in Parkinson's disease: Mediolateral sway of the centre of mass during level-ground walking and obstacle crossing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Brook Galna


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Background: Falls are common in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) and frequently occur when walking and crossing obstacles.Objective: To determine whether people with mild to moderately severe PD have abnormal centre of mass (CoM) motion in response to the perturbations of level-ground walking and obstacle crossing.Method: Mediolateral excursion and velocity of the CoM were measured using three-dimensional motion analysis and force platforms in 20 people with mild to moderately severe PD at the peak dose of their PD medication, and 20 age and sex matched healthy control participants.Results: People with PD had greater sideways sway than healthy older adults when walking, particularly when walking over obstacles. People with PD also maintained their CoM more medial to their stance foot throughout the swing phase of gait compared to controls. The severity of motor symptoms in people with PD, measured using the UPDRS-III, was associated with faster sideways CoM motion but not increased CoM excursions.Conclusions: Environmental hazards, such as ground-based obstacles, may accentuate postural instability in people with PD. Increased mediolateral sway might be due to impaired postural responses or kinematic compensations to increase foot clearance. Fall prevention programs could benefit from inclusion of components educating people with PD about the risks associated with obstacle crossing when walking. (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Galna B, Murphy AT, Morris ME

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gait & Posture

Year: 2013

Volume: 38

Issue: 4

Pages: 790-794

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

Online publication date: 04/05/2013

Acceptance date: 26/03/2013

ISSN (print): 0966-6362

ISSN (electronic): 1879-2219

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.03.024


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