BACKGROUND: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by motor impairment, affecting quality of life and increasing fall risk, due to ineffective postural control. To this day, the diagnosis remains based on clinical approach. Similarly, motor evaluation is based on heterogeneous, operator-dependent observational criteria. A synthetic, replicable index to quantify motor impairment is still lacking. In this paper, we build upon the idea that the trunk is crucial in balance control. Hence, we have designed a new measure of postural stability which assess the trunk displacement in relation to the center of mass, that we named trunk displacement index (TDI). METHODS: Twenty-three PD patients and twenty-three healthy controls underwent clinical (UPDRS-III) and motor examination (3D gait analysis). The TDI was extracted from kinematic measurements using a stereophotogrammetric system. A correlation analysis was performed to assess the relationship of TDI with typical gait parameters, to verify its biomechanical value, and UPDRS-III, to observe its clinical relevance. Finally, its sensitivity was measured, comparing pre- and post- L-DOPA subclinical intake. RESULTS: The TDI showed significant correlations with many gait parameters, including both velocity and stability characteristics of gait, and with the UPDRS-III. Finally, the TDI resulted capable in discriminating between off and on state in PD, whereas typical gait parameters failed two show any difference between those two conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the TDI may be considered a highly sensitive biomechanical index, reflecting the overall motor condition in PD, and provided of clinical relevance due to the correlation with the clinical evaluation.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience