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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 623985, 8 pages
Research Article

Lack of Short-Term Effectiveness of Rotating Treadmill Training on Turning in People with Mild-to-Moderate Parkinson's Disease and Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Study

1Program in Physical Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA
2Program in Neuroscience, Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
3Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
4Department of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

Received 27 July 2011; Accepted 5 September 2011

Academic Editor: Terry Ellis

Copyright © 2012 Marie E. McNeely and Gammon M. Earhart. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since turning is often impaired in Parkinson's disease (PD) and may lead to falls, it is important to develop targeted treatment strategies for turning. We determined the effects of rotating treadmill training on turning in individuals with PD. This randomized controlled study evaluated 1 8 0 in-place turns, functional turning (timed-up-and-go), and gait velocity before and after 15 minutes of rotating treadmill training or stepping in place in 26 people with PD and 27 age-matched controls. A subset of participants with PD ( 𝑛 = 3 ) completed five consecutive days of rotating treadmill training. Fast as possible gait velocity, timed-up-and-go time, 1 8 0 turn duration, and steps to turn 1 8 0 were impaired in PD compared to controls ( 𝑃 < 0 . 0 5 ) and did not improve following either intervention ( 𝑃 > 0 . 0 5 ). Preferred pace gait velocity and timing of yaw rotation onset of body segments (head, trunk, pelvis) during 1 8 0 turns were not different in PD ( 𝑃 > 0 . 0 5 ) and did not change following either intervention. No improvements in gait or turning occurred after five days of rotating treadmill training, compared to one day. The rotating treadmill is not recommended for short-term rehabilitation of impaired in-place turning in the general PD population.