J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 72:721-725 doi:10.1136/jnnp.72.6.721
  • Paper

Incidence and prediction of falls in Parkinson's disease: a prospective multidisciplinary study

  1. B H Wood1,
  2. J A Bilclough2,
  3. A Bowron3,
  4. R W Walker3
  1. 125 Churchill Mews, St Peter's Marina, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1BH, UK
  2. 2Jubilee Day Hospital, North Tyneside General Hospital, Rake Lane, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE29 8NH, UK
  3. 3North Tyneside General Hospital, Rake Lane, North Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE29 8NH, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R W Walker, Department of Medicine, North Tyneside General Hospital, Rake Lane, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE29 8NH, UK;
  • Received 4 July 2001
  • Accepted 13 February 2002
  • Revised 29 January 2002


Objectives: To accurately establish the incidence of falls in Parkinson's disease (PD) and to investigate predictive risk factors for fallers from baseline data.

Methods: 109 subjects with idiopathic PD diagnosed according to the brain bank criteria underwent a multidisciplinary baseline assessment comprising demographic and historical data, disease specific rating scales, physiotherapy assessment, tests of visual, cardiovascular and autonomic function, and bone densitometry. Patients were then prospectively followed up for one year using weekly prepaid postcards along with telephone follow up.

Results: Falls occurred in 68.3% of the subjects. Previous falls, disease duration, dementia, and loss of arm swing were independent predictors of falling. There were also significant associations between disease severity, balance impairment, depression, and falling.

Conclusions: Falls are a common problem in PD and some of the major risk factors are potentially modifiable. There is a need for future studies to look at interventions to prevent falls in PD.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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