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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • trunk kinematics;
  • sit-to-stand

Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with particular difficulties rising from a seated position. Little is known about the mechanisms of sit-to-stand in this condition. We sought to define trunk movement during sit-to-stand in a group of patients with PD. Six patients and seven normal volunteers were studied using a six camera ELITE motion analysis system (BTS, Milan, Italy), which permitted data collection in the coronal, sagittal, and transverse planes. Retroreflective markers were positioned along the spine at C7, T3, T6, T9, T12, L3, and the sacrum. Whole-trunk kinematics and the movement at the six different trunk markers were recorded during rising. PD patients have a significantly greater degree of trunk flexion than controls, showing a significant increase in angular velocity of the trunk in the sagittal plane. The total range of movement of trunk rotation was significantly smaller in the PD group, but lateral movement in the trunk was greater than normal. These data suggest that patients with early PD compensate for their difficulties rising from a chair by generating greater trunk flexion at higher angular velocity, thus developing greater forward momentum. This process results in a decrease in the duration of the unstable transitional phase of sit-to-stand, allowing PD patients to reach the upright position as easily and safely as possible. Small rotational movements are an effective way to maintain the centre of mass within the base of support during sit-to-stand. This mechanism appears to be denied to the PD patients who may use increased movements in the coronal plane as an alternative strategy. © 2002 Movement Disorder Society