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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2017 April;53(2):201-8

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.16.04301-X


language: English

Treadmill training frequency influences walking improvement in subjects with Parkinson’s disease: a randomized pilot study

Elisa PELOSIN 1, Laura AVANZINO 2, Roberta BARELLA 3, Cristina BET 3, Elisabetta MAGIONCALDA 3, Carlo TROMPETTO 1, Piero RUGGERI 2, Mauro CASALEGGIO 3, Giovanni ABBRUZZESE 1

1 Department of Neurosciences (DINOGMI), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 2 Section of Human Physiology, Department of Experimental Medicine, Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 3 Azienda Sanitaria Locale 3 Genovese - S.C. Riabilitazione Territoriale N.O. Polo Riabilitativo Levante, Genoa, Italy


BACKGROUND: Treadmill training (TT) has been indicated as a potential therapeutic tool for improving balance and gait in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the lack of evidences about the best modality of intervention (e.g.: number of sessions) and the lack of reliable follow-up measures, made difficult to hand down these results into the clinical practice.
AIM: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of 3 different modalities of TT program on gait performance in PD patients.
DESIGN: A randomized, single-blind pilot study.
SETTING: Outpatients clinic, Department of Neuroscience, University of Genoa.
POPULATION: Thirty patients (out of 42 screened) with PD were randomized.
METHODS: Participants underwent the same TT program (ten sessions, 45 minute each) but with a different frequency throughout a week: 1) low-frequency (LF) group: 2-times a week; 2) intermediate-frequency (IF) group: 3-times a week; and 3) high-frequency (HF) group: 5-times a week. Patients were evaluated by Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, 10-meter walking test (10M-WT), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Falls Efficacy Scale (FES) and falls diary before TT, immediately after the training was stopped, and 2 and 4 months later.
RESULTS: At baseline, no significant differences were found among groups. Immediately after the end of the TT, TUG Test, 10 MWT, FES and falls diary scores significantly improved in the LF and IF groups, whereas they did not change in the HF group. Improvements were sustained for up 2-months in the IF and LF groups. At 4-months evaluation, outcome measures were either comparable or sometimes even better than at baseline in the LF and IF groups, whereas in the HF group, 10M-WT and FES score worsened.
CONCLUSIONS: According to the results of this study, we might postulate that the frequency of TT influences short and long-lasting effects on walking performance and falls.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The present study confirms that TT is effective in improving gait disturbances and reducing falls risk in patients with PD. The short- and long-lasting effects induced by TT on walking performance are specifically affected by the frequency of training, possibly in relationship to learning mechanisms and fatigue.

KEY WORDS: Parkinson disease - Exercise test - Gait - Physical therapy modalities

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