Freezing mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease

Titre de l’étude : Freezing mechanisms of upper and lower limb in Parkinson’s disease

Chercheur principal : Julie Côté, Ph.D. Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University

Co-chercheurs : Caroline Paquette, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University

Julie Nantel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa

Caroline Paquette, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University

Hiram Cantú, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University

Site of the study : The research center of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital, 3205, Place Alton-Goldbloom, Laval, Québec, H7V 1R2

Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system characterized by a loss of dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra. Bradykinesia is one of the most disabling motor symptoms in PD, characterized by slow and small movement amplitudes that are often observed in people with PD who also show coordination impairments. Unfortunately, the absence of effect of levodopa medication on these coordination deficits suggests that bradykinesia contributes to, but is not directly responsible for these coordination deficits. Moreover, abnormal coordination has been associated with the occurrence of episodes of freezing of gait (FOG) and of freezing of upper limb (FOUL) in PD. The mechanisms of upper limb freezing in Parkinson’s disease are not well understood, which limits our ability to clinically assess this common phenomenon.

Objective of the study: The objectives of this research are (1) to identify task characteristics effective in triggering freezing episodes in upper and lower limbs, (2) to assess the effect of medication on freezing episodes of upper and lower limbs, and (3) to identify motor characteristics preceding freezing episodes of upper and lower limbs in patients with PD.