Postural control, falls and Parkinson's disease: Are fallers more asymmetric than non-fallers?

Fabio Augusto Barbieri*, Mark Carpenter, Victor Spiandor Beretta, Diego Orcioli-Silva, Lucas Simieli, Rodrigo Vitório, Lilian Teresa Bucken Gobbi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Postural control asymmetry is an important aspect of Parkinson's disease (PD) that may be associated with falls. The aim of this study was to compare the postural control asymmetry during postural tasks between fallers and non-fallers in people with PD and neurological healthy age-matched controls (CG). Individuals with idiopathic PD (n = 24) and CG (n = 24) were sub-divided into groups of fallers and non-fallers based on their fall history over the past year. Participants performed blocks of three 30-s trials of quiet standing with feet in a side-by-side and semi-tandem stance position. The center of pressure parameters for each limb were measured and used to calculate the symmetry index. Fallers compared to non-fallers had decreased asymmetry of vertical force in the side-by-side condition. During the tandem-front leg condition, PD non-fallers increased asymmetry of the medial-lateral velocity of sway compared to CG non-fallers. In addition, for the tandem–back leg condition, PD non-fallers increased asymmetry of total displacement and medial-lateral root mean square and mean velocity of sway compared to PD fallers. The results of the study did not support the hypothesis that PD fallers are more asymmetric than PD non-fallers. On the contrary, our results indicated that PD non-fallers had higher postural control asymmetry, especially during the more challenging (semi-tandem standing) postural task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Movement Science
Early online date4 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


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