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Blindfolded Balance Training in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease:A Sensory-Motor Strategy to Improve the Gait
Aim: Recent evidence suggested that the use of treadmill training may improve gait parameters. Visual deprivation could engage alternative sensory strategies to control dynamic equilibrium and stabilize gait based on vestibulospinal reflexes (VSR). We aimed to investigate the efficacy of a blindfolded balance training (BBT) in the improvement of stride phase percentage reliable gait parameters in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) compared to patients treated with standard physical therapy (PT). Methods: Thirty PD patients were randomized in two groups of 15 patients, one group treated with BBT during two weeks and another group treated with standard PT during eight weeks. We evaluated gait parameters before and after BBT and PT interventions, in terms of double stance, swing, and stance phase percentage. Results: BBT induced an improvement of double stance phase as revealed (decreased percentage of double stance phase during the gait cycle) in comparison to PT. The other gait parameters swing and stance phase did not differ between the two groups. Discussion: These results support the introduction of complementary rehabilitative strategies based on sensory-motor stimulation in the traditional PD patient’s rehabilitation. Further studies are needed to investigate the neurophysiological circuits and mechanism underlying clinical and motor modifications.
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