Effects of visual and auditory cues on gait in individuals with Parkinson's disease

M Suteerawattananon, G S Morris, B R Etnyre, J Jankovic, E J Protas
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 2004 April 15, 219 (1): 63-9
The purpose of this study was to determine if combining visual and auditory cues has a greater effect on the gait pattern of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) than the cues applied individually. Twenty-four individuals with idiopathic PD were recruited. Patients, while off antiparkinsonian medications, were measured on a 7.62-m walkway during two trials for each of four conditions performed in random order: without cues, with a visual cue, with an auditory cue and with both cues simultaneously. The auditory cue consisted of a metronome beat 25% faster than the subject's fastest gait speed. Brightly colored parallel lines placed along the walkway at intervals equal to 40% of a subject's height served as the visual cue. Average gait speed, cadence and stride length were calculated for each condition. Gait velocity, cadence and stride length significantly improved (p<005) when cues were used. Visual and auditory cues improved gait performance in patients with PD, but they did so in different ways. Auditory cueing significantly improved cadence, but visual cueing improved stride length. The simultaneous use of auditory and visual cues did not improve gait significantly more than each cue alone.

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