The Effect of Levodopa on Improvements in Protective Stepping in People with Parkinson's Disease

Daniel S. Peterson, Fay Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. The effect of levodopa on postural motor learning in people with Parkinson's disease is poorly understood. In particular, it is unknown whether levodopa affects improvement in protective postural responses after external perturbations such as a slip or trip, a critical aspect of fall prevention. Objective. Determine the effect of levodopa on postural motor learning in people with Parkinson's disease. Methods. We assessed improvement in protective postural responses in people with Parkinson's disease over short-term (1 day) perturbation training on and off levodopa. We also assessed retention and generalization of improvement. Participants were 22 individuals with Parkinson's disease. The primary outcome was total center of mass (COM) displacement after perturbation. Secondary outcomes assessed first step performance and included margin of stability at first foot contact. Results. People with Parkinson's disease improved COM displacement (P =.011) and margin of stability (P =.016) over training. Improvements in these outcomes were more pronounced after training while on levodopa than off levodopa. Levodopa State × Training interactions were not observed for other step performance variables (eg, step latency, length, total number of steps). Improvements were retained for 24 hours, and for margin of stability, retention was more pronounced while on levodopa than off (P =.018). Conclusions. Individuals with Parkinson's disease are able to improve protective postural responses through short-term perturbation training, and improvements were more pronounced when on levodopa for some variables. Perturbation training may be more effective if completed while optimally medicated with levodopa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-940
Number of pages10
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Volume30
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • levodopa
  • motor learning
  • Parkinson's disease
  • posture
  • stepping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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