Clinical correlates of motor performance during paced postural tasks in Parkinson's disease

D. J. Beckley, V. P. Panzer, M. P. Remler, L. B. Ilog, B. R. Bloem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Bradykinesia and hypokinesia may both play a significant role in postural instability commonly seen in patients with Parkinson's disease. We investigated which factor -movement time or movement amplitude -is the more significant limiting variable in patients with Parkinson's disease during a paced postural task. We also assessed the effect of antiparkinson medication upon these movement factors and the degree of correlation with changes in clinical performance. Subjects performed paced left-right (L-R) and forward-backward (F-B) continuous weight-shifting tasks at slow, medium and fast paces. Ten Parkinson patients were studied both OFF and ON their usual antiparkinson medication. Ten age-matched healthy controls were also tested and subsequently retested on the same schedule as the patients. Movement times and amplitudes were measured and correlated with clinical changes in UPDRS motor subscores. Parkinson patients performed similar to controls with respect to movement time, but significantly displayed underscaled (reduced) movement amplitude. Movement amplitude improved after antiparkinson medication, but remained significantly less than that of controls. Improvements in L-R movement amplitude correlated with clinical improvements in bradykinesia and postural instability, while improved F-B movement amplitude correlated only with reduced postural instability. We conclude that hypometric movement amplitude, and not abnormal movement time, is the primary abnormality observed in Parkinson patients during a paced postural task. Amplitude underscaling seems antiparkinson medication-dependent and improvement correlates with favorable clinical changes in bradykinesia and postural instability scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995


  • Antiparkinson medication
  • Balance
  • Bradykinesia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Postural control
  • Rigidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Aging
  • Surgery
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)


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