Gait hypokinesia (slowness) is a characteristic feature of Parkinson's disease. It is not clear, however, whether the slowness is due to a problem in regulation of the timing of consecutive steps or the control of stride size. Examination of cadence control for slow to medium walking speeds has shown an increase in step frequency that was a compensation for reduced stride length. In this investigation the ability of Parkinsonian patients to modulate their cadence (steps per minute) at the fast walking speeds exhibited by age and height matched controls was examined. The findings indicated that cadence control remains unaffected throughout its entire range in Parkinson's disease and that gait hypokinesia is directly attributable to an inability to internally generate sufficiently large steps.
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