Walking patterns in Parkinson's disease with and without freezing of gait
Nanhoe-Mahabier, W × Snijders, A H Delval, A Weerdesteyn, V Duysens, Jaak Overeem, S Bloem, B R #
Neuroscience vol:182 pages:217-24
The pathophysiology underlying freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's disease remains incompletely understood. Patients with FOG ("freezers") have a higher temporal variability and asymmetry of strides compared to patients without FOG ("non-freezers"). We aimed to extend this view, by assessing spatial variability and asymmetry of steps and interlimb coordination between the upper and lower limbs during gait. Twelve freezers, 15 non-freezers, and 15 age-matched controls were instructed to walk overground and on a treadmill. Kinematic data were recorded with a motion analysis system. Both freezers and non-freezers showed an increased spatial variability of leg movements compared to controls. In addition, both patient groups had a deficit in interlimb coordination, not only between ipsilateral arms and legs, but also between diagonally positioned limbs. The only difference between freezers and non-freezers was a decreased step length during treadmill walking. We conclude that parkinsonian gait-regardless of FOG-is irregular, not only in the legs, but also with respect to interlimb coordination between the arms and legs. FOG is reflected by abnormal treadmill walking, presumably because this provides a greater challenge to the defective supraspinal control than overground walking, hampering the ability of freezers to increase their stride length when necessary.