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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • drug naïve;
  • gait;
  • dual task;
  • auditory cueing

Abstract

The incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is greater than thought however, is largely undiagnosed and untreated. This study aimed to evaluate a nonpharmacological approach using cueing therapy to improve gait in drug-naïve PD and the feasibility of delivering rehabilitation in northern Tanzania. In this study, twenty-one people with PD aged 76.4 years (12.9 SD) with varying disease severity participated. They received 9 × 30 min sessions of cueing therapy for gait problems over 3 weeks from a trained therapist delivered in their home environment. Cueing therapy consisted of walking in time to a metronome beat to correct step amplitude and step frequency during a range of functional activities. Gait was recorded on video before and after therapy, and videos were analyzed in the UK by an assessor not involved in data collection. Disease severity (UPDRS) and balance were also measured. Patients were assessed in their nearest clinic. Data were analyzed in Minitab and a P value of 0.05 was considered significant. Cueing therapy significantly improved single and dual task walking speed, step amplitude, and single task step frequency. There was also a significant improvement in motor impairment (UPDRS III) and activities of daily living (UPDRS II). The results provide promising evidence for the role of cueing therapy in PD for symptom management to reduce or delay medication onset. This study also supports the feasibility of rehabilitation in PD in community environments in SSA, which may be applicable to other developing regions. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society