Knowledge of brain correlates of postural control is limited by the technical difficulties in performing controlled experiments with currently available neuroimaging methods. Here we present a system that allows the measurement of anticipatory postural adjustment of human legs to be synchronized with the acquisition of functional magnetic resonance imaging data. The device is composed of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) compatible force sensors able to measure the level of force applied by both feet. We tested the device in a group of healthy young subjects and a group of elderly subjects with Parkinson’s disease using an event-related functional MRI (fMRI) experiment design. In both groups the postural behavior inside the magnetic resonance was correlated to the behavior during gait initiation outside the scanner. The system did not produce noticeable imaging artifacts in the data. Healthy young people showed brain activation patterns coherent with movement planning. Parkinson’s disease patients demonstrated an altered pattern of activation within the motor circuitry. We concluded that this force measurement system is able to index both normal and abnormal preparation for gait initiation within an fMRI experiment.
Objectives: To estimate the impact of a sensory-motor-cognitive task on postural balance, in Parkinson disease patients (Hoehn and Yahr 2-3) and to investigate possible relationships between posturography and functional balance clinical scales. Method: Parkinson disease patients (n = 40) and healthy controls (n = 27) were evaluated with fluency tests, Berg Balance scale, Mini Best test and static posturography on the conditions eyes open, eyes closed and dual-task (simultaneous balance and fluency tasks). Results: Posturographic data showed that Parkinson disease patients performed worse than controls in all evaluations. In general, balance on dual-task was significantly poorer than balance with eyes closed. Posturographic data were weakly correlated to clinical balance scales. Conclusion: In clinical practice, Parkinson disease patients are commonly assessed with eyes closed, to sensitize balance. Our study showed that adding a cognitive task is even more effective. Static posturographic data should be carefully overgeneralized to infer functional balance impairments.
10Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (10Hz-rTMS) to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC) produces analgesia, probably by activating the pain modulation system. A newer rTMS paradigm, called theta burst stimulation (TBS), has been developed. Unlike 10Hz-rTMS, prolonged continuous TBS (pcTBS) mimics endogenous theta rhythms, which can improve induction of synaptic long-term potentiation. Therefore, this study investigated whether pcTBS to the L-DLPFC reduced pain sensitivity more efficiently compared with 10Hz-rTMS, the analgesic effects lasted beyond the stimulation period, and the reduced pain sensitivity was associated with increased efficacy of conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and/or intra-cortical excitability. Sixteen subjects participated in a randomized cross-over study with pcTBS and 10Hz-rTMS. Pain thresholds to heat (HPT), cold (CPT), pressure (PPT), intra-cortical excitability assessment, and CPM with mechanical and heat supra-pain threshold test stimuli and the cold pressor test as conditioning were collected before (Baseline), 3 (Day3) and 4 days (Day4) after 3-day session of rTMS. HPTs and PPTs increased with 10Hz-rTMS and pcTBS at Day3 and Day4 compared with Baseline (P=0.007).Based on pooled data from pcTBS and 10Hz-rTMS, the increased PPTs correlated with increased efficacy of CPM at Day3 (P=0.008), while no correlations were found at Day4 or with the intracortical excitability.Perspective: Preliminary results of this comparative study did not show stronger pain sensitivity reduction by pcTBS compared with 10Hz-rTMS to the L-DPFC. Both protocols maintained increased pain thresholds up to 24-hours after the last session, which were partially associated with modulation of CPM efficacy but not with the intra-cortical excitability changes.
Gait disorders and postural instability are the leading causes of falls and
disability in Parkinson's disease (PD). Cognition plays an important role in
postural control and may interfere with gait and posture assessment and
treatment. It is important to recognize gait, posture and balance dysfunctions
by choosing proper assessment tools for PD. Patients at higher risk of falling
must be referred for rehabilitation as early as possible, because
antiparkinsonian drugs and surgery do not improve gait and posture in PD.
Whether or not they had PD, less-educated people performed worse than more-educated people on the TMT Part B. Educational status affected executive function, but PD status did not. Among individuals with PD, educational status influenced functional balance.
This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between posturography, clinical balance, and executive function tests in Parkinson´s disease (PD). Seventy-one people participated in the study. Static posturography evaluated the center of pressure fluctuations in quiet standing and dynamic posturography assessed sit-to-stand, tandem walk, and step over an obstacle. Functional balance was evaluated by Berg Balance Scale, MiniBESTest, and Timed Up and Go test. Executive function was assessed by Trail Making Test (TMT) and semantic verbal fluency test. Step over obstacle measures (percentage of body weight transfer and movement time) were moderately correlated to Timed Up and Go, part B of TMT and semantic verbal fluency (r > 0.40; p < 0.05 in all relationships). Stepping over an obstacle assesses the responses to internal perturbations. Participants with shorter movement times and higher percentage of body weight transfer (higher lift up index) on this task were also faster in Timed Up and Go, part B of TMT, and semantic verbal fluency. All these tasks require executive function (problem solving, sequencing, shifting attention), which is affected by PD and contribute to postural assessment.
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