Relationship between Sensorimotor Inhibition and Mobility in Older Adults with and without Parkinson's Disease

Douglas N Martini*, Rosie Morris, Tara M Madhyastha, Thomas J Grabowski, John Oakley, Shu-Ching Hu, Cyrus P Zabetian, Karen L Edwards, Amie Hiller, Kathryn Chung, Katrina Ramsey, Jodi A Lapidus, Brenna Cholerton, Thomas J Montine, Joseph F Quinn, Fay B Horak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Reduced cortical sensorimotor inhibition is associated with mobility and cognitive impairments in people with Parkinson's disease (PD) and older adults (OAs). However, there is a lack of clarity regarding the relationships among sensorimotor, cognitive, and mobility impairments. The purpose of this study was to determine how cortical sensorimotor inhibition relates to impairments in mobility and cognition in people with PD and OAs.

METHODS: Cortical sensorimotor inhibition was characterized with short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) in 81 people with PD and 69 OAs. Six inertial sensors recorded single- and dual-task gait and postural sway characteristics during a two-minute walk and a one-minute quiet stance. Cognition was assessed across the memory, visuospatial, executive function, attention, and language domains.

RESULTS: SAI was significantly impaired in the PD compared to the OA group. The PD group preformed significantly worse across all gait and postural sway tasks. In PD, SAI significantly correlated with single-task foot strike angle and stride length variability, sway area, and jerkiness of sway in the coronal and sagittal planes. In OAs, SAI significantly related to single-task gait speed and stride length, dual-task stride length, and immediate recall (memory domain). No relationship among mobility, cognition, and SAI was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Impaired SAI related to slower gait in OA and to increased gait variability and postural sway in people with PD, all of which have been shown to be related to increased fall risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberglaa300
Pages (from-to)630-637
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date30 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


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