Learning a high-precision locomotor task in patients with Parkinson's disease

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Abstract

We evaluated the acquisition and performance of a high-precision locomotor task in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and healthy subjects. All subjects walked on a treadmill and had to step repetitively as low as possible over an obstacle without touching it. During blocks 1 and 2, the subjects had full vision and received additional acoustic warning and feedback signals. During block 3, vision became restricted. Changes in foot clearance and the number of obstacle hits were evaluated. Initially, PD patients performed poorer and improved foot clearance slower. After task repetition, the groups performed similarly. Restricting vision deteriorated performance in both groups. The similar performance of PD patients after task repetition might indicate that adequate training could improve adaptive locomotor behavior in PD patients. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society

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