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Examining Stepping Capacity in People with PD

J Neurol Phys Ther; 2017 Oct; Duncan, et al

People with Parkinson disease (PD) stepped furthest in the forward direction when performing the Maximum Step Length Test (MSLT), a recent study found. Increased MSLT performance was observed in the ON-medication state compared with OFF-medication; however, the small increase may not be clinically meaningful. 40 participants (mean age 65.12 ± 8.20 years; 45% female) with idiopathic PD completed the MSLT while OFF and ON anti-PD medication. The following measures were collected: Mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Mini-BESTest), Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, gait velocity, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale subsection III (MDS-UPDRS III), and Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Researchers found:

  • Regardless of medication status, participants stepped further in the forward direction compared with the backward and lateral directions.
  • Participants increased MSLT performance when ON-medication compared with OFF-medication.
  • Regardless of medication status, MSLT was moderately to strongly related to Mini-BESTest, TUG, and 6MWT.
  • Given the relationships between the MSLT and the Mini-BESTest, 6MWT, and TUG, MSLT performance appears to be associated with balance and gait hypokinesia in people with PD.

Citation:

Duncan RY, McNeely ME, Earhart GM. Maximum step length test performance in people with Parkinson disease: A cross-sectional study. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2017;41(4):216-221. doi:10.1097/NPT.0000000000000201

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