Postural motor learning in people with Parkinson's disease.
ABSTRACT: Protective postural responses to external perturbations are hypokinetic in people with Parkinson's disease (PD), and improving these responses may reduce falls. However, the ability of people with PD to improve postural responses with practice is poorly understood. Our objective was to determine whether people with PD can improve protective postural responses similarly to healthy adults through repeated perturbations, and whether improvements are retained or generalize to untrained perturbations. Twelve healthy adults and 15 people with PD underwent 25 forward and 25 backward translations of the support surface, eliciting backward, and forward protective steps, respectively. We assessed whether: (1) performance improved over one day of practice, (2) changes were retained 24 h later, and (3) improvements generalized to untrained (lateral) postural responses. People with PD and healthy adults improved postural response characteristics, including center of mass displacement after perturbations (p < 0.001), margin of stability at first footfall (p = 0.001), step latency (p = 0.044), and number of steps (p = 0.001). However, unlike controls, improvements in people with PD occurred primarily in the first block of trials. Improvements were more pronounced during backward protective stepping than forward, and with the exception of step latency, were retained 24 h later. Improvements in forward-backward stepping did not generalize to lateral protective stepping. People with PD can improve protective stepping over the course of 1 day of perturbation practice. Improvements were generally similar to healthy adults, and were retained in both groups. Perturbation practice may represent a promising approach to improving protective postural responses in people with PD; however, additional research is needed to understand how to enhance generalization.
Project description:<h4>Background and objective</h4>Postural muscle responses are often impaired after stroke. We aimed to identify the contribution of deficits in very early postural responses to poorer reactive balance capacity, with a particular focus on reactive stepping as a key strategy for avoiding falls.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 34 chronic stroke survivors and 17 controls were subjected to translational balance perturbations in 4 directions. We identified the highest perturbation intensity that could be recovered without stepping (single stepping threshold [SST]) and with maximally 1 step (multiple stepping threshold [MST]). We determined onset latencies and response amplitudes of 7 leg muscles bilaterally and identified associations with balance capacity.<h4>Results</h4>People with stroke had a lower MST than controls in all directions. Side steps resulted in a higher lateral MST than crossover steps but were less common toward the paretic side. Postural responses were delayed and smaller in amplitude on the paretic side only. We observed the strongest associations between gluteus medius (GLUT) onset and amplitude and MST toward the paretic side ( R<sup>2</sup> = 0.33). Electromyographic variables were rather weakly associated with forward and backward MSTs ( R<sup>2</sup> = 0.10-0.22) and with SSTs ( R<sup>2</sup> = 0.08-0.15).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Delayed and reduced paretic postural responses are associated with impaired reactive stepping after stroke. Particularly, fast and vigorous activity of the GLUT is imperative for overcoming large sideways perturbations, presumably because it facilitates the effective use of side steps. Because people with stroke often fall toward the paretic side, this finding indicates an important target for training.
Project description:The ability to respond quickly and accurately to an external perturbation with a stepping response is critical to avoid falls and this ability is impaired in older, compared to young adults. However, little is known about whether young and older adults improve compensatory stepping responses similarly with practice. This study compares the extent to which young and older adults can improve, retain, and generalize postural compensatory steps in response to external perturbations. Centre of mass displacement, step characteristics and lower leg muscle activation latencies were measured during one training session of compensatory stepping in response to large surface translations in 13 young and 12 older adults. Retention was tested 24 h later. Older adults decreased their center of mass displacements over repeated exposure to large surface translations in both the anterior and posterior directions and retained these improvements. In contrast, young adults only showed adaptation and retention of forward stepping responses. Neither group was able to generalize improvements in stepping responses across directions. These results suggest step training may be beneficial for older adults, however additional, multidirectional training may be necessary to facilitate generalization of postural stepping responses for any direction of a slip or trip.
Project description:Introduction: Freezing of gait (FOG) is a powerful determinant of falls in Parkinson's disease (PD). Automatic postural reactions serve as a protective strategy to prevent falling after perturbations. However, differences in automatic postural reactions between patients with and without FOG in response to perturbation are at present unclear. Therefore, the present study aimed to compare the response patterns and neuromuscular control between PD patients with and without FOG and healthy controls (HCs) after postural perturbations. Methods: 28 PD patients (15 FOG+, 13 FOG-) and 22 HCs were included. Participants stood on a moveable platform while random perturbations were imposed. The first anterior platform translation was retained for analysis. Center of pressure (CoP) and center of mass (CoM) trajectories and trunk, knee and ankle angles were compared between the three groups using the Statistical Parametric Mapping technique, allowing to capture changes in time. In addition, muscle activation of lower leg muscles was measured using EMG. Results: At baseline, FOG+ stood with more trunk flexion than HCs (p = 0.005), a result not found in FOG-. Following a perturbation, FOG+ reacted with increased trunk extension (p = 0.004) in comparison to HCs, a pattern not observed in FOG-. The CoM showed greater backward displacement in FOG- and FOG+ (p = 0.008, p = 0.027). Both FOG+ and FOG- showed increased co-activation of agonist and antagonist muscles compared to HCs (p = 0.010), with no differences between FOG+ and FOG-. Conclusions: Automatic postural reactions after a sudden perturbation are similar between PD subgroups with and without FOG but different from HCs. Reactive postural control, largely regulated by brain stem centers, seems to be modulated by different mechanisms than those governing freezing of gait. Greater differences in initial stance position, enhanced by joint stiffening, could however underlie maladaptive postural responses and increase susceptibility for balance loss in FOG+ compared to FOG-.
Project description:Although balance training is considered the most effective treatment for balance impairments in Parkinson's disease (PD), few studies have examined if learning for balance control remains intact with PD. This study aimed to determine if learning for automatic postural responses is preserved in people with PD.Eleven participants with moderate PD (68±6.4years; H&Y: 2-3) on their usual medication maintained balance on a platform that oscillated forward and backward with variable amplitude and constant frequency. Participants completed 42 trials during one training session, and retention and transfer tests following a 24-h delay. Performance was measured by comparing spatial and temporal measures of whole-body centre of mass (COM) with platform displacements. Learning was compared between participants with PD and previously reported, age-matched older adults (Van Ooteghem et al., 2010).Although postural responses in participants with PD were impaired compared to control participants, a majority of PD participants improved their postural responses with practice as revealed by reduced COM displacements and improved phase relationships between COM and platform motion. Rates of improvement were comparable between groups demonstrating preserved adaptive capacity for participants with PD. Similar to control participants, the PD group moved toward anticipatory COM control as a strategy for improving stability, exhibited short-term retention of performance improvements, and demonstrated generalizability of the learned responses. Rate of improvement with practice, but not retention, was related to severity of motor impairments.Patients with moderate PD on medication demonstrate retention of improvements in automatic postural responses with practice suggesting that intrinsic postural motor learning is preserved in this group.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Previous studies have shown that people with Parkinson disease (PD) have difficulty performing the sit-to-stand task because of mobility and stability-related impairments. Despite its importance, literature on the quantification of dynamic stability control in people with PD during this task is limited.<h4>Objective</h4>The study objective was to examine differences in dynamic stability control between people with PD and people who were healthy and the extent to which externally cued training could improve such control during the sit-to-stand task in people with PD.<h4>Design</h4>This was a quasi-experimental controlled trial.<h4>Methods</h4>The performance of 21 people with PD was compared with that of 12 older adults who dwelled in the community. People with PD were randomly assigned to 2 groups: a group that did not receive training and a group that received audiovisually cued training (3 times per week for 4 weeks) for speeding up performance on the sit-to-stand task. Outcome measures recorded at baseline and after 4 weeks included center-of-mass position, center-of-mass velocity, and stability against either backward or forward balance loss (backward or forward stability) at seat-off and movement termination.<h4>Results</h4>Compared with people who were healthy, people with PD had greater backward stability resulting from a more anterior center-of-mass position at seat-off. This feature, combined with decreased forward stability at movement termination, increased their risk of forward balance loss at movement termination. After training, people with PD achieved greater backward stability through increased forward center-of-mass velocity at seat-off and reduced the likelihood of forward balance loss at movement termination through a posterior shift in the center-of-mass position.<h4>Limitations</h4>The study applied stability limits derived from adults who were healthy to people with PD, and the suggested impact on the risk of balance loss and falling is based on these theoretical stability limits.<h4>Conclusions</h4>For people with PD, postural stability against backward balance loss at task initiation was increased at the expense of possible forward balance loss at task termination. Task-specific training with preparatory audiovisual cues resulted in improved overall dynamic stability against both forward and backward balance loss.
Project description:Freezing of gait (FoG) is an episodic, brief inability to step that delays gait initiation or interrupts ongoing gait. FoG is often associated with an alternating shaking of the knees, clinically referred to as knee trembling or trembling in place. The pathophysiology of FoG and of the concomitant trembling knees is unknown; impaired postural adjustment in preparation for stepping is one hypothesis. We examined anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) prior to protective steps induced by a forward loss of balance in 10 Parkinson's disease (PD) subjects with marked FoG and in 10 control subjects. The amplitude and timing of the APAs were determined from changes in the vertical ground-reaction forces recorded by a force plate under each foot and were confirmed by electromyographic recordings of bilateral medial gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior and tensor fascia latae muscles. Protective steps were accomplished with a single APA followed by a step for control subjects, whereas PD subjects frequently exhibited multiple, alternating APAs coexistent with the knee trembling commonly observed during FoG as well as delayed, inadequate or no stepping. These multiple APAs were not delayed in onset and were of similar or larger amplitude than the single APAs exhibited by the control subjects. These observations suggest that multiple APAs produce the knee trembling commonly associated with FoG and that FoG associated with a forward loss of balance is caused by an inability to couple a normal APA to the stepping motor pattern.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is characterized by early postural instability and backward falls. The mechanisms underlying backward postural instability in PSP are not understood. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that postural instability in PSP is a result of dysfunction in the perception of postural verticality. METHODS:We gathered posturography data on 12 subjects with PSP to compare with 12 subjects with idiopathic Parkinson's Disease (PD) and 12 healthy subjects. Objective tests of postural impairment included: dynamic sensory perception tests of gravity and of surface oscillations, postural responses to surface perturbations, the sensory organization test of postural sway under altered sensory conditions and limits of stability in stance. RESULTS:Perception of toes up (but not toes down) surface tilt was reduced in subjects with PSP compared to both control subjects (p?0.001 standing, p?0.007 seated) and subjects with PD (p?0.03 standing, p?0.04 seated). Subjects with PSP, PD and normal controls accurately perceived the direction of gravity when standing on a tilting surface. Unlike PD and control subjects, subjects with PSP exerted less postural corrective torque in response to toes up surface tilts. DISCUSSION:Difficulty perceiving backward tilt of the surface or body may account for backward falls and postural impairments in patients with PSP. These observations suggest that abnormal central integration of sensory inputs for perception of body and surface orientation contributes to the pathophysiology of postural instability in PSP.
Project description:In people with Parkinson disease (PD), difficulties with initiating stepping may be related to impairments of anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs). Increased variability in step length and step time has been observed in gait initiation in individuals with PD. In this study, we investigated whether the ability to generate consistent APAs during gait initiation is compromised in these individuals.Fifteen subjects with PD and 8 healthy control subjects were instructed to take rapid forward steps after a verbal cue. The changes in vertical force and ankle marker position were recorded via force platforms and a 3-dimensional motion capture system, respectively. Means, standard deviations, and coefficients of variation of both timing and magnitude of vertical force, as well as stepping variables, were calculated.During the postural phase of gait initiation the interval was longer and the force modulation was smaller in subjects with PD. Both the variability of timing and force modulation were larger in subjects with PD. Individuals with PD also had a longer time to complete the first step, but no significant differences were found for the variability of step time, length, and speed between groups.The increased variability of APAs during gait initiation in subjects with PD could affect posture-locomotion coupling, and lead to start hesitation, and even falls. Future studies are needed to investigate the effect of rehabilitation interventions on the variability of APAs during gait initiation in individuals with PD.Video abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A119).
Project description:Walking can be challenging for aging individuals and people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson disease (PD). Gait impairment characterized by reduced speed and higher variability destabilizes gait and increases the risk of falls. External auditory cueing provides an effective strategy to improve gait, as matching footfalls to rhythms typically increases gait speed and elicits larger steps, but the need to synchronize to an outside source often has a detrimental effect on gait variability. Internal cueing in the form of singing may provide an alternative to conventional gait therapy. In the present study, we compare the effects of internal and external cueing techniques on forward and backward walking for both people with PD and healthy controls. Results indicate that internal cueing was associated with improvements in gait velocity, cadence, and stride length in the backward direction, and reduced variability in both forward and backward walking. In comparison, external cueing was associated with minimal improvement in gait characteristics and a decline in gait stability. People with gait impairment due to aging or neurological decline may benefit more from internal cueing techniques such as singing as compared to external cueing techniques.
Project description:Myosin VI is an ATP driven molecular motor that normally takes forward and processive steps on actin filaments, but also on occasion stochastic backward steps. While a number of models have attempted to explain the backwards steps, none offer an acceptable mechanism for their existence. We therefore performed single molecule imaging of myosin VI and calculated the stepping rates of forward and backward steps at the single molecule level. The forward stepping rate was proportional to the ATP concentration, whereas the backward stepping rate was independent. Using these data, we proposed that spontaneous detachment of the leading head is uncoupled from ATP binding and is responsible for the backward steps of myosin VI.