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    • "In addition, functional balance was assessed using the Tinetti Mobility index [18] and fall history was noted. Balance confidence was determined using a short version of the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale [19], the ABC-6 (see table 1) [20]. Routine neurological examination showed no clinical proprioceptive deficits in patients. "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Balance confidence was determined using the activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) scale (Powell and Myers, 1995). These scales are standard clinical assessment tools for balance deficits in the elderly and patients with PD (Oude Nijhuis et al., 2007; Kegelmeyer et al., 2007). Clinical characteristics of PD patients are shown in Table 1. "
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    ABSTRACT: Balance control in Parkinson's disease is often studied using dynamic posturography, typically with serial identical balance perturbations. Because subjects can learn from the first trial, the magnitude of balance reactions rapidly habituates during subsequent trials. Changes in this habituation rate might yield a clinically useful marker. We studied balance reactions in Parkinson's disease using posturography, specifically focusing on the responses to the first, fully unpractised balance disturbance, and on the subsequent habituation rates. Eight Parkinson patients and eight age- and gender-matched controls received eight consecutive toe-up rotations of a support-surface. Balance reactions were measured with a motion analysis system and converted to centre of mass displacements (primary outcome). Mean centre of mass displacement during the first trial was 51% greater in patients than controls (P=0.019), due to excessive trunk flexion and greater ankle plantar-flexion. However, habituated trials were comparable in both groups. Patients also habituated slower: controls were fully habituated at trial 2, whereas habituation in patients required up to five trials (P=0.004). The number of near-falls during the first trial was significantly correlated with centre of mass displacement during the first trial and with habituation rate. Higher first trial reactions and a slow habituation rate discriminated Parkinson's patients from controls, but habituated trials did not. Further work should demonstrate whether this also applies to clinical balance tests, such as the pull test, and whether repeated delivery of such tests offers better diagnostic value for evaluating fall risks in parkinsonian patients.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Gait disorders and balance impairments are one of the most incapacitating symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Here, we discuss the latest findings regarding epidemiology, assessment, pathophysiology and treatment of gait and balance impairments in Parkinson's disease. Recent studies have confirmed the high rate and high risk of falls of patients with Parkinson's disease. Therefore, it is crucial to detect patients who are at risk of falling and how to prevent falls. Several studies have shown that multiple balance tests improve the prediction of falls in Parkinson's disease. Difficulty turning may be caused by axial rigidity, affected interlimb coordination and asymmetries. Turning difficulties are easily assessed by timed performance and the number of steps during a turn. Impaired sensorimotor integration, inability of switching between sensory modalities and lack of compensatory stepping may all contribute to the high incidence of falls in patients with Parkinson's disease. Similarly, various studies highlighted that pharmacotherapy, neurosurgery and physiotherapy may adversely affect balance and gait in Parkinson's disease. Insights into the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease continue to grow. At the same time, it is becoming clear that some patients may in fact deteriorate with treatment. Future research should focus on the development and evaluation of multifactorial fall prevention strategies.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2008 · Current Opinion in Neurology
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