Prism adaptation in Parkinson disease: comparing reaching to walking and freezers to non-freezers

Samuel T. Nemanich, Gammon M. Earhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Visuomotor adaptation to gaze-shifting prism glasses requires recalibration of the relationship between sensory input and motor output. Healthy individuals flexibly adapt movement patterns to many external perturbations; however, individuals with cerebellar damage do not adapt movements to the same extent. People with Parkinson disease (PD) adapt normally, but exhibit reduced after-effects, which are negative movement errors following the removal of the prism glasses and are indicative of true spatial realignment. Walking is particularly affected in PD, and many individuals experience freezing of gait (FOG), an episodic interruption in walking, that is thought to have a distinct pathophysiology. Here, we examined how individuals with PD with (PD + FOG) and without (PD − FOG) FOG, along with healthy older adults, adapted both reaching and walking patterns to prism glasses. Participants completed a visually guided reaching and walking task with and without rightward-shifting prism glasses. All groups adapted at similar rates during reaching and during walking. However, overall walking adaptation rates were slower compared to reaching rates. The PD − FOG group showed smaller after-effects, particularly during walking, compared to PD + FOG, independent of adaptation magnitude. While FOG did not appear to affect characteristics of prism adaptation, these results support the idea that the distinct neural processes governing visuomotor adaptation and storage are differentially affected by basal ganglia dysfunction in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2301-2310
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 25 2015


  • After-effects
  • Freezing of gait
  • Parkinson disease
  • Prism adaptation


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