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Open Access 17-06-2024 | Parkinson's Disease | Original Communication

No evidence for effects of low-intensity vestibular noise stimulation on mild-to-moderate gait impairments in patients with Parkinson’s disease

Authors: Daniela Peto, Florian Schmidmeier, Sabrina Katzdobler, Urban M. Fietzek, Johannes Levin, Max Wuehr, Andreas Zwergal

Published in: Journal of Neurology

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Abstract

Background

Gait impairment is a key feature in later stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD), which often responds poorly to pharmacological therapies. Neuromodulatory treatment by low-intensity noisy galvanic vestibular stimulation (nGVS) has indicated positive effects on postural instability in PD, which may possibly be conveyed to improvement of dynamic gait dysfunction.

Objective

To investigate the effects of individually tuned nGVS on normal and cognitively challenged walking in PD patients with mild-to-moderate gait dysfunction.

Methods

Effects of nGVS of varying intensities (0–0.7 mA) on body sway were examined in 32 patients with PD (ON medication state, Hoehn and Yahr: 2.3 ± 0.5), who were standing with eyes closed on a posturographic force plate. Treatment response and optimal nGVS stimulation intensity were determined on an individual patient level. In a second step, the effects of optimal nGVS vs. sham treatment on walking with preferred speed and with a cognitive dual task were investigated by assessment of spatiotemporal gait parameters on a pressure-sensitive gait carpet.

Results

Evaluation of individual balance responses yielded that 59% of patients displayed a beneficial balance response to nGVS treatment with an average optimal improvement of 23%. However, optimal nGVS had no effects on gait parameters neither for the normal nor the cognitively challenged walking condition compared to sham stimulation irrespective of the nGVS responder status.

Conclusions

Low-intensity nGVS seems to have differential treatment effects on static postural imbalance and continuous gait dysfunction in PD, which could be explained by a selective modulation of midbrain-thalamic circuits of balance control.
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Metadata
Title
No evidence for effects of low-intensity vestibular noise stimulation on mild-to-moderate gait impairments in patients with Parkinson’s disease
Authors
Daniela Peto
Florian Schmidmeier
Sabrina Katzdobler
Urban M. Fietzek
Johannes Levin
Max Wuehr
Andreas Zwergal
Publication date
17-06-2024
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
Journal of Neurology
Print ISSN: 0340-5354
Electronic ISSN: 1432-1459
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-024-12504-z