Visual Cues for Turning in Parkinson’s Disease

Julia Das, Rodrigo Vitorio, Allissa Butterfield, Rosie Morris, Lisa Graham, Gill Barry, Claire McDonald, Richard Walker, Martina Mancini, Sam Stuart*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Turning is a common impairment of mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), which increases freezing of gait (FoG) episodes and has implications for falls risk. Visual cues have been shown to improve general gait characteristics in PD. However, the effects of visual cues on turning deficits in PD remains unclear. We aimed to (i) compare the response of turning performance while walking (180° and 360° turns) to visual cues in people with PD with and without FoG; and (ii) examine the relationship between FoG severity and response to visual cues during turning. This exploratory interventional study measured turning while walking in 43 participants with PD (22 with self-reported FoG) and 20 controls using an inertial sensor placed at the fifth lumbar vertebrae region. Participants walked straight and performed 180° and 360° turns midway through a 10 m walk, which was done with and without visual cues (starred pattern). The turn duration and velocity response to visual cues were assessed using linear mixed effects models. People with FoG turned slower and longer than people with PD without FoG and controls (group effect: p < 0.001). Visual cues reduced the velocity of turning 180° across all groups and reduced the velocity of turning 360° in people with PD without FoG and controls. FoG severity was not significantly associated with response to visual cues during turning. Findings suggest that visual cueing can modify turning during walking in PD, with response influenced by FoG status and turn amplitude. Slower turning in response to visual cueing may indicate a more cautious and/or attention-driven turning pattern. This study contributes to our understanding of the influence that cues can have on turning performance in PD, particularly in freezers, and will aid in their therapeutic application.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6746
Number of pages10
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2022


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