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    ABSTRACT: Falls in Parkinson’s disease (PD) are common and frequently devastating. Falls prevention is an urgent priority, but there is no accepted program that specifically addresses the risk profile in PD. Therefore, we aimed to provide consensus-based clinical practice recommendations that systematically address potential fall risk factors in PD. We developed an overview of both generic (age-related) and PD-specific factors. For each factor, we specified: best method of ascertainment; disciplines that should be involved in assessment and treatment; and which interventions could be engaged. Using a web-based tool, we asked 27 clinically active professionals from multiple relevant disciplines to evaluate this overview. The revised version was subsequently reviewed by 12 experts. Risk factors and their associated interventions were included in the final set of recommendations when at least 66% of reviewing experts agreed. These recommendations included 31 risk factors. Nearly all required a multidisciplinary team approach, usually involving a neurologist and PD-nurse specialist. Finally, the expert panel proposed to first identify the specific fall type and to tailor screening and treatment accordingly. A routine evaluation of all risk factors remains reserved for high-risk patients without prior falls, or for patients with seemingly unexplained falls. In conclusion, this project produced a set of consensus-based clinical practice recommendations for the examination and management of falls in PD. These may be used in two ways: for pragmatic use in current clinical practice, pending further evidence; and as the active intervention in clinical trials, aiming to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of large scale implementation.
    Parkinsonism & Related Disorders 01/2013; · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gait, balance, and falls have become increasingly common topics of published articles in the Movement Disorders journal since its launch in 1986. This growth represents an increasing awareness of the importance of mobility to patients' quality of life. New methods have become available that allow for accurate measurement of many aspects for gait and balance. This has led to new concepts of understanding gait and balance disorders. Neuroimaging has begun to reveal the neural circuitry underlying gait and balance. The physiology and pathophysiology of balance and gait are beginning to tease out the many processes involved in mobility and how they may be disrupted by disease processes. With these advances, the old therapeutic nihilism that characterized the clinician's approach to falls and gait disorders is disappearing, as innovative physiotherapy, exercise, drugs, and deep brain stimulation are being employed for gait and balance disorders.
    Movement Disorders 05/2011; 26(6):1166-74. · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Underlying somatosensory processing deficits of joint rotation velocities may cause patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) to be more unstable for fast rather than slow balance perturbations. Such deficits could lead to reduced proprioceptive amplitude feedback triggered by perturbations, and thereby to smaller or delayed stabilizing postural responses. For this reason, we investigated whether support surface perturbation velocity affects balance reactions in PD patients. We examined postural responses of seven PD patients (OFF medication) and eight age-matched controls following backward rotations of a support-surface platform. Rotations occurred at three different speeds: fast (60 deg/s), medium (30 deg/s) or slow (3.8 deg/s), presented in random order. Each subject completed the protocol under eyes open and closed conditions. Full body kinematics, ankle torques and the number of near-falls were recorded. Patients were significantly more unstable than controls following fast perturbations (26% larger displacements of the body's centre of mass; P<0.01), but not following slow perturbations. Also, more near-falls occurred in patients for fast rotations. Balance correcting ankle torques were weaker for patients than controls on the most affected side, but were stronger than controls for the least affected side. These differences were present both with eyes open and eyes closed (P<0.01). Fast support surface rotations caused greater instability and discriminated Parkinson patients better from controls than slow rotations. Although ankle torques on the most affected side were weaker, patients partially compensated for this by generating larger than normal stabilizing torques about the ankle joint on the least affected side. Without this compensation, instability may have been greater.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86650. · 3.73 Impact Factor

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