Global cognitive function and processing speed are associated with gait and balance dysfunction in Parkinson’s diseaseReport as inadecuate

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

, 13:94

First Online: 28 October 2016Received: 14 July 2016Accepted: 25 October 2016


BackgroundOur primary objective was to determine the relationship between global cognitive function and specific domains of gait and balance in a cohort of Parkinson’s disease PD subjects. In a secondary analysis, we determined whether specific cognitive domains correlated with gait and balance performance.

MethodsFourteen PD subjects mean age 61.1 ± 7.8 years were recruited from the Rush University Medical Center Movement Disorders clinic. Subjects underwent clinical assessment using the motor subsection of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale UPDRS followed by quantitative gait and balance assessments using the APDM Mobility Lab™ system Mobility Lab, APDM Inc., Portland, OR. Subjects completed global cognitive testing using the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale MDRS as well as domain specific cognitive measures. Spearman’s rho was used to assess correlations between cognitive measures and gait and balance function, with False Discovery Rate FDR correction for multiple comparisons.

ResultsGlobal cognitive function had the strongest correlation with stride velocity r = 0.816, p = 0.001, turn duration r = −0.806, p = 0.001, number of steps to turn r = −0.830, p = 0.001, and mean velocity of postural sway in the medio-lateral direction r = −0.726, p = 0.005. A significant correlation was found between processing speed and two turning measures turn duration, r = −0.884, p = 0.001; number of steps to turn, r = −0.954, p < 0.001, but no other associations were found between specific cognitive domains and gait domains.

ConclusionsThis pilot study provides preliminary data regarding the association between global cognitive function and pace-related measures of gait, turning, and postural sway. Furthermore, reduced processing speed was found to be associated with difficulty in performing turns.

KeywordsParkinson’s disease Cognition Processing speed Gait Turning  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Gian Pal - Joan O’Keefe - Erin Robertson-Dick - Bryan Bernard - Sharlet Anderson - Deborah Hall


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