Introduction: A programme of rehabilitation using auditory cues has previously been shown to decrease movement variability in the gait of Parkinsonian patients.
Objective and methods: We studied the temporal variability of finger-tapping and gait in 9 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) before and after they undertook a physical rehabilitation programme. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) using 2-deoxy-2[(18)F]fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) was performed in these subjects to look for changes in metabolic brain activity after completion of the rehabilitation program.
Results: The reduction of variability was seen not only in gait but also other repetitive movements such as finger tapping. Furthermore, here we show differences in resting regional cerebral glucose utilisation in these patients compared to healthy controls (significant hypometabolism-p < 0.001-for the PD group in the right parietal and temporal lobes, left temporal and frontal lobes and a hypermetabolism in the left cerebellum) and specific changes following the improvements in repetitive movement abilities (significant metabolic increment-p < 0.001-in the PD group in the right cerebellum and in the right parietal and temporal lobes).
Conclusions: Although our study does not allow us to draw firm conclusions, it provides new information on the neural basis of auditory stimulation in PD. Our results extend those from previous studies to show improvement in the temporal variability of two types of rhythmic movements after participation by PD patients in a physical rehabilitation programme, along with changes in glucose uptake in several brain areas involved in sensorimotor processing.