Effect of Cue Timing and Modality on Gait Initiation in Parkinson Disease With Freezing of Gait

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30 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the effects of cue timing, across 3 sensory modalities, on anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) during gait initiation in people with Parkinson disease (PD). Design Observational study. Setting Biomechanics research laboratory. Participants Individuals with idiopathic PD (N=25; 11 with freezing of gait [FOG]) were studied in the off-medication state (12-h overnight withdrawal). Interventions Gait initiation was tested without cueing (self-initiated) and with 3 cue timing protocols: fixed delay (3s), random delay (4–12s), and countdown (3-2-1-go, 1-s intervals) across 3 sensory modalities (acoustic, visual, and vibrotactile). Main Outcome Measures The incidence and spatiotemporal characteristics of APAs during gait initiation were analyzed, including vertical ground reaction forces and center of pressure. Results All cue timings and modalities increased the incidence and amplitude of APAs compared with self-initiated stepping. Acoustic and visual cues, but not vibrotactile stimulation, improved the timing of APAs. Fixed delay or countdown timing protocols were more effective at decreasing APA durations than random delay cues. Cue-evoked improvements in APA timing, but not amplitude, correlated with the level of impairment during self-initiated gait. Cues did not improve the late push-off phase in the FOG group. Conclusions External cueing improves gait initiation in PD regardless of cue timing, modality, or clinical phenotype (with and without FOG). Acoustic or visual cueing with predictive timing provided the greatest improvements in gait initiation; therefore, these protocols may provide the best outcomes when applied by caregivers or devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1291-1299.e1
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine


  • Cues
  • Freezing
  • Gait
  • Parkinson disease
  • Rehabilitation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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