Can a targeted home-based exercise programme improve turning characteristics in individuals with Parkinson's disease?

      Highlights

      • Turning deficits in Parkinson's disease lead to falls.
      • Home-based exercise improves onset latency of turning kinematics.
      • Home-based exercise improves stepping characteristics.
      • Home-based exercise reduces risk of falling.

      Abstract

      Background

      Turns are often cited as a difficult task for individuals with Parkinson's disease and often lead to falls, however targeted exercise interventions may help to reduce this problem. This study examined the effects of a 10-week home-based exercise program focusing on turns which may be an exercise approach for improving mobility and reducing falls in individuals with Parkinson's disease.

      Methods

      Turning and stepping characteristics were recorded using Inertial Measurement Units while participants performed a 180° standing turn. Eye movements were measured using a BlueGain electrooculography system. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, Functional axial rotation-physical score and the Falls Efficacy Scale International.

      Findings

      Twenty individuals with Parkinson's disease were matched by severity using the Modified Hoehn and Yahr scale and were randomly allocated to an exercise (n = 10) or control group (n = 10). Significant improvements were seen after 10 weeks in the exercise group only for; onset latency of body segments, step size, number of fast phase eye movements, the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale in motor and rigidity scores, Functional axial rotation-physical score and the Falls Efficacy Scale International.

      Interpretation

      These results indicate that the home-based exercise programme targeting turning characteristics had positive effects on turning performance and clinical outcomes associated with falls in individuals with Parkinson's disease. These preliminary results support the notion that targeted home-based exercises may provide an effective intervention in this population.

      Keywords

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