Rehabilitation in Parkinson's disease: Assessing the outcome using objective metabolic measurements


  • Potential conflict of interest: None.


Objective measurements to assess the efficacy of rehabilitation treatment in Parkinson's disease, suitable to be carried out routinely in the clinical setting, are lacking. Metabolic parameters, reflecting the recruitment and co-ordination of muscle fibers, might be simple instrumental measurements suitable for use as outcome markers. Twenty parkinsonian patients underwent a 4-week rehabilitation treatment. Functional evaluation was based on Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale Motor Section (UPDRS III), Berg's scale, 6-minute walking test (6MWT), and the metabolic data recorded during the 6MWT namely the active energy expenditure (AEE), the kinetics of the energy consumption curve, and the peak value of energy consumption. Both rating scales and gait improved significantly (UPDRS III decreased by 32%, Berg increased by 21% and the 6MWT increased by 17%). We observed significant improvements also in metabolic measurements (35, 18, and 15 improvement in the kinetics of the energy consumption, AEE, and peak value of energy consumption, respectively). Hence, the rehabilitation protocol improved functional characteristics of the patients and these improvements were clearly reflected also by the metabolic measurements. The improvement in clinical scores corresponded with an increase in energy consumption during the 6MWT, indicating greater speed in the recruitment of motor units and of a capacity to maintain this recruitment over time. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society