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Temporal discrimination learning for treatment of gait dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease: a feasibility study using single subject design

Authors Di Fabio RP, Merchant H, Bartolo R, Tuite P

Published 1 December 2011 Volume 2011:1 Pages 8—11


Richard P. Di Fabio,1 Hugo Merchant,2 Ramon Bartolo,2 Paul Tuite3

1Graduate Programs in Neuroscience and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical School, University of Minnesota; 2Instituto de Neurobiología, UNAM campus Juriquilla Boulevard Juriquilla No. 3001,Querétaro, Qro. 76230 México; 3Department of Neurology, Medical School, University of Minnesota

Abstract: Freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease may be attributed to dysfunctional neural timing that alters stride time variability. This study investigated the feasibility of a five-day perceptual timing training program using an auditory interval discrimination task to reduce stride time variability in Parkinson’s disease. Results showed that training produced an increase in time-discrimination acuity in a Parkinson’s disease patient, followed by a decrease in stride time variability. Effects persisted six weeks after training. No learning transfer effects were found in a patient trained in a pitch discrimination task. In conclusion, interval discrimination training may reduce temporal gait irregularities in Parkinson’s disease.

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