Aims: To investigate the ability of patients with Parkinson’s disease to perform a rotation around the longitudinal axis of the body. Three questions were raised. Is body rotation impaired in Parkinson’s disease? Is there a level of the kinematic chain from the head to the foot at which the impairment is more severe? Is the deficit related to the general slowness of movement in Parkinson’s disease?
Methods: Kinematic data were recorded. The temporal organisation of body rotation during gait initiation was analysed in 10 patients with Parkinson’s disease, who were all at an advanced stage of the disease and had all experienced falls and freezing during their daily life, and in five controls. The latency of the onset of the rotation of each segment was measured by taking the onset of the postural phase of step initiation as reference value. Locomotor variables were also analysed.
Results: Body rotation was found to be impaired in patients with Parkinson’s disease, as the delay in the onset of the rotation of each segment is greater than that in controls. Moreover, a specific uncoupling in the onset of shoulder and pelvis segment rotation was seen in patients. This impairment of rotation is not related only to the general slowness of movements.
Conclusion: Patients with Parkinson’s disease were found to have an impairment of posturo-kinetic coordination and impaired capacity to exert appropriate ground reaction forces to orient the pelvis in space.
- UPDRS, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale
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