Aim: The goal of this study was to analyze the effects of external rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) on gait variability in older adults and people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods: Academic databases searched included PubMed, Web of Science, PEDro and Cochrane, from inception to September 2021. Eligible articles scored a minimum of 4 on the PEDro scale. Results: Twenty-three papers were included. People with PD show varied responses in gait variability to RAS during cued walking trials. Healthy older adults tended to increase variability during cued trials. Cue rates below preferred walking cadence tend to increase gait variability. Conclusion: Gait variability is closely associated with fall risk and an important consideration in development of gait rehabilitation techniques. Plain language summary People with Parkinson's disease (PD) tend to walk slower and with higher gait variability. Walking to metronome tones or musical cues are common rehabilitation techniques to improve gait speed and stride length for people with PD. However, recent reports suggest that cues may augment differences between each stride, making walking less even and less rhythmic, in other words, more variable. Gait variability is closely associated with fall risk. In this review, we investigated the effects of external rhythmic auditory cues - both metronome and music - to see how they affected gait variability for people with PD and older adults. The results of our analysis suggest that cues may increase gait variability for both groups. Several factors that may foster positive responses to cues are considered.
- Parkinson's disease
- external cueing
- gait variability
- neurological disorders
- rhythmic auditory stimulation