Utilizing kinematic analysis of postural instability as an objective measure to aid in distinguishing between normal pressure hydrocephalus and Parkinson's disease

Jacob T Hanson, Luke Sabal, James N Jean, Alec B Jonason, Reid A Johnson, Thomas Lisko, Yeng Moua, Robert A. McGovern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and Parkinson's Disease (PD) can clinically appear quite similar at baseline evaluation. We sought to investigate the use of kinematic assessment of postural instability (PI) using inertial measurement units (IMUs) as a mechanism of differentiation between the two disease processes. Methods: 20 patients with NPH, 55 patients with PD, and 56 age-matched, healthy controls underwent quantitative pull test examinations while wearing IMUs at baseline. Center of mass and foot position data were used to compare velocity and acceleration profiles, pull test step length, and reaction times between groups and as a function of Unified Parkinson's disease Rating Scale Pull Test (UPDRSPT) score. Results: Overall, the reactive postural response of NPH patients was characterized by slower reaction times and smaller steps compared to both PD patients and healthy controls. However, when patients were grouped by UPDRSPT scores, no reliable objective difference between groups was detected. Conclusion: At their initial evaluation, very few NPH patients demonstrate “normal” or “mild” PI as they appear to be older upon presentation compared to PD patients. As a result, kinematic assessment utilizing IMUs may not be helpful for differentiating between NPH and PD as a function of UPDRSPT score, but rather as a more fine-tuned method to define disease progression. We emphasize the need for further evaluation of incorporating objective kinematic data collection as a way to evaluate PI and improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100299
JournalWorld Neurosurgery: X
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors


  • Diagnosis
  • Kinematics
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Postural instability

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this