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Keywords:

  • Auditory rhythm;
  • Gait training;
  • Parkinsonism

Abstract

Rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) was used as a pacemaker during a 3-week home-based gaittraining program for Parkinson's disease (PD) patients (n = 15). Electromyogram (EMG) patterns and stride parameters were assessed before and after the test without RAS to evaluate changes in gait patterns. Data were compared with those of two control groups (n = 11), who either did not participate in any gait training or who participated in an internally self-paced training program. RAS consisted of audiotapes with metronome-pulse patterns embedded into the on/off beat structure of rhythmically accentuated instrumental music. Patients who trained with RAS significantly (p < 0.05) improved their gait velocity by 25%, stride length by 12%, and step cadence by 10% more than self-paced subjects who improved their velocity decreased by 7% and no-training subjects whose velocity decreased by 7%. In the RAS-group, timing of EMG patterns changed significantly (p < 0.05) in the anterior tibialis and vastus lateralis muscles. Evidence for rhythmic entrainment of gait patterns was shown by the ability of the RAS group to reproduce the speed of the last training tape within a 2% margin of error without RAS.