Freezing of gait, gait initiation, and gait automaticity share a similar neural substrate in Parkinson's disease

Acácio Moreira-Neto, Carlos Ugrinowitsch, Daniel Boari Coelho, Andrea Cristina de Lima-Pardini, Egberto Reis Barbosa, Luis Augusto Teixeira, Edson Amaro, Fay B. Horak, Martina Mancini, Mariana Penteado Nucci, Carla Silva-Batista

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3 Scopus citations


Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) and freezing of gait (FOG) have difficulty initiating and maintaining a healthy gait pattern; however, the relationship among FOG severity, gait initiation, and gait automaticity, in addition to the neural substrate of this relationship has not been investigated. This study investigated the association among FOG severity during turning (FOG-ratio), gait initiation (anticipatory postural adjustment [APA]), and gait automaticity (dual-task cost [DTC]), and the neural substrates of these associations. Thirty-four individuals with FOG of PD were assessed in the ON-medication state. FOG-ratio during a turning test, gait automaticity using DTC on stride length and gait speed, and APA during an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging protocol to assess brain activity from the regions of interest (e.g., dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [DLPFC] and mesencephalic locomotor region [MLR]) were assessed in separated days. Results showed that FOG-ratio, APA amplitude, and DTC on stride length are negatively associated among them (P < 0.05). APA amplitude and DTC on stride length explained 59% of the FOG-ratio variance (P < 0.05). Although the activity of the right DLPFC and right MLR explained 55% of the FOG-ratio variance (P < 0.05) and 30% of the DTC on stride length variance (P ≤ 0.05), only the activity of the right MLR explained 23% of the APA amplitude (P < 0.05). FOG severity during turning, APA amplitude, and stride length automaticity are associated among them and share a similar locomotor substrate, as the MLR activity was a common brain region in explaining the variance of these variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103018
JournalHuman Movement Science
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Anticipatory postural adjustment
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Dual-task cost
  • Mesencephalic locomotor region
  • Stride length
  • Turning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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