We aimed to characterize parkinsonian features and gait
performance of psychiatric patients on neuroleptics (PPN) and to compare them to Parkinson's disease (PD) and healthy controls (HC).
Hospitalized PPN (n = 27) were recruited, examined, and rated for parkinsonian signs according to the motor part of the Movement Disorders Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and performed a 10-m “timed-up-and-go” (TUG) test with a smartphone-based motion capture system attached to their sternum. Gait
parameters and mUPDRS scores were compared to those of consecutive age-matched PD patients (n = 18) and HC (n = 27).
Psychiatric patients on neuroleptics exhibited parkinsonism (mUPDRS score range: 8–44) but less than that of PD patients (18.2 ± 9.2 vs 29.8 ± 10.3, P
= 0.001). TUG times were slower for PPN and PD versus HC (total: 30.6 ± 7.6 seconds vs 30.0 ± 7.3 seconds vs 20.0 ± 3.2 seconds, straight walking: 10.6 ± 2.7 seconds vs 10.6 ± 2.4 seconds vs 6.8 ± 1.2 seconds) (P
< 0.001), and cadence and step length were similar among PPN and PD and different from HC as well. Although their gait
speed was slower than HC but similar to PD, PPN had lower mediolateral sway (4.3 ± 1.1 cm vs 6.7 ± 2.9 cm vs 6.9 ± 2.9 cm, respectively, P
< 0.001) than both.
Parkinsonism is very common in hospitalized PPN, but usually milder than that of PD. It seems that wearable sensor-based technology for assessing gait
may present a more sensitive and quantitative tool to detect clinical aspects of neuroleptic-induced parkinsonism
than standard clinical ratings.