Cortical thickness as predictor of response to exercise in people with Parkinson's disease

Carla Silva-Batista, Anjanibhargavi Ragothaman, Martina Mancini, Patricia Carlson-Kuhta, Graham Harker, Se Hee Jung, John G. Nutt, Damien A. Fair, Fay B. Horak, Oscar Miranda-Domínguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We previously showed that dual-task cost (DTC) on gait speed in people with Parkinson's disease (PD) improved after 6 weeks of the Agility Boot Camp with Cognitive Challenge (ABC-C) exercise program. Since deficits in dual-task gait speed are associated with freezing of gait and gray matter atrophy, here we performed preplanned secondary analyses to answer two questions: (a) Do people with PD who are freezers present similar improvements compared to nonfreezers in DTC on gait speed with ABC-C? (b) Can cortical thickness at baseline predict responsiveness to the ABC-C? The DTC from 39 freezers and 43 nonfreezers who completed 6 weeks of ABC-C were analyzed. A subset of 51 participants (21 freezers and 30 nonfreezers) with high quality imaging data were used to characterize relationships between baseline cortical thickness and delta (Δ) DTC on gait speed following ABC-C. Freezers showed larger ΔDTC on gait speed than nonfreezers with ABC-C program (p <.05). Cortical thickness in visual and fronto-parietal areas predicted ΔDTC on gait speed in freezers, whereas sensorimotor-lateral thickness predicted ΔDTC on gait speed in nonfreezers (p <.05). When matched for motor severity, visual cortical thickness was a common predictor of response to exercise in all individuals, presenting the largest effect size. In conclusion, freezers improved gait automaticity even more than nonfreezers from cognitively challenging exercise. DTC on gait speed improvement was associated with larger baseline cortical thickness from different brain areas, depending on freezing status, but visual cortex thickness showed the most robust relationship with exercise-induced improvements in DTC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 9 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Grant/Award Number: 2018/16909‐1; NIH Clinical Center, Grant/Award Number: R01AG006457; OHSU Parkinson Center Pilot Grant Program; Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI), NCATS, NIH, Grant/Award Number: UL1TR002369; Oregon Health & Science University Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research Program; Tartar Trust Award; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Grant/Award Number: I01 RX001075 Funding information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • challenging exercise
  • dual-task cost
  • freezing of gait
  • fronto-parietal cortical
  • gray matter atrophy
  • visual cortical


Dive into the research topics of 'Cortical thickness as predictor of response to exercise in people with Parkinson's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this