Postural stability in patients with Huntington's disease

J Tian, S J Herdman, D S Zee, S E Folstein
Neurology 1992, 42 (6): 1232-8
We characterized postural stability in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) by examining their ability to use different sensory cues to maintain balance and by recording their automatic postural responses to externally applied perturbations. Our HD patients, like normal subjects, depended more on proprioceptive than on visual cues to maintain balance. HD patients, however, developed more sway than normal subjects when proprioceptive cues, or when proprioceptive cues and vision, were altered. Thus, HD patients showed a defect in using vestibular information alone to maintain normal postural stability. The onset of compensatory motor responses in the lower extremities following sudden translations of the support surface was delayed by 30 to 60 msec in HD patients as compared with normal subjects. HD patients also had more sway and falls during unexpected rotations of the support surface, although they could appropriately reduce their motor responses on the next trial.

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