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Curtis Catherine L. EdM PT; Bassile, Clare C. EdD, PT; Cote, Luciene J. MD; Gentile, A. M. PhD
Neurology Report: 2001


Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) are known to have motor control impairments involving coordination and sequencing of multiple movement components and postural control. The effects of an 8-week exercise program on the motor control of individuals with PD were evaluated in this case-series study. Four individuals with PD (Hoehn & Yahr stage I - III), 3 with bradykinesia and one with dyskinesia were tested before and after participating in the exercise program. Subjects were tested on a timed walk task, the SF-36 health survey, and the Posturo-Locomotion-Manual (PLM) test. The PLM test involves bending to pick up a box and standing up (Postural phase), walking a 1.82 m distance (Locomotion phase), and placing the box on a raised shelf (Manual phase). Performance on the PLM test was videotaped and movement was analyzed kinematically. The exercise program emphasized activities challenging both balance and coordination of multiple movement components. At the completion of the exercise program, all 4 subjects demonstrated a reduction in movement time on the PLM test. For the 3 bradykinetic subjects, movement simultaneity (phase overlap) increased postexercise for movement combinations involving the postural phase. In contrast, the subject with dyskinesia executed the postural phase more quickly, thereby decreasing overlap of the postural with the other 2 phases, while increasing the overlap between the locomotion and manual phases. For the timed walk task, no systematic change postexercise was observed for the 4 subjects. Postexercise improvement was noted for some of the SF-36 scales, but changes were not systematic across subjects. The improvements in speed and the pathology specific changes in movement simultaneity suggest that exercise may improve both the coordination of sequential movement components and postural control in individuals with PD.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.