People with Parkinson disease with and without freezing of gait respond similarly to external and self-generated cues

Adam P. Horin, Elinor C. Harrison, Kerri S. Rawson, Gammon M. Earhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Gait deficits in Parkinson disease (PD), including freezing of gait (FOG), can be among the most debilitating symptoms. Rhythmic auditory cueing has been used to alleviate some gait symptoms. However, different cue types, such as externally-generated and self-generated cues, affect gait variability differently. The differential effects of these cue types on people with PD with FOG (PD + FOG), who often have higher gait variability, and those with PD without FOG (PD-FOG) is unknown. Given the relationship of gait variability to fall risk, this is an important area to address. Research question: This study aims to 1) confirm the association between falls and gait variability measures in PD-FOG, PD + FOG and age-matched Controls; 2) investigate the effects of different cue types on gait variability in PD-FOG and PD + FOG; and 3) determine whether baseline gait characteristics are associated with response to cues. Methods: This cross-sectional study investigated PD-FOG (n = 24), PD + FOG (n = 20), and Controls (n = 24). Gait trials were collected during use of externally-generated and self-generated cues for all participants. Gait variability measures were the primary outcomes to assess the effects of rhythmic auditory cues. Results: Logistic regression models showed increased gait variability was associated with falls across groups. Repeated measures ANOVAs showed externally-generated cues increased gait variability, whereas self-generated cues did not, for all groups. Pearson's correlations showed participants with higher baseline gait variability had greater reduction in gait variability with rhythmic auditory cueing. Significance: Higher gait variability is associated with falls. This study demonstrates that PD + FOG are capable of using self-generated cues without increasing gait variability measures, thereby stabilizing gait. People with higher baseline gait variability are likely to experience the largest reductions in variability with the addition of external cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Falls
  • Freezing
  • Gait variability
  • Parkinson disease


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