Rigidity is commonly defined as a resistance to passive movement. In Parkinson's disease (PD), two types of rigidity are classically recognized which may coexist, "leadpipe " and "cogwheel". Charcot was the first to investigate parkinsonian rigidity during the second half of the nineteenth century, whereas Negro and Moyer described cogwheel rigidity at the beginning of the twentieth century. Jules Froment, a French neurologist from Lyon, contributed to the study of parkinsonian rigidity during the 1920s. He investigated rigidity of the wrist at rest in a sitting position as well as in stable and unstable standing postures, both clinically and with physiological recordings using a myograph. With Gardère, Froment described enhanced resistance to passive movements of a limb about a joint that can be detected specifically when there is a voluntary action of another contralateral body part. This has been designated in the literature as the "Froment's maneuver " and the activation or facilitation test. In addition, Froment showed that parkinsonian rigidity diminishes, vanishes, or enhances depending on the static posture of the body. He proposed that in PD "maintenance stabilization " of the body is impaired and that "reactive stabilization " becomes the operative mode of muscular tone control. He considered "rigidification " as compensatory against the forces of gravity. Froment also demonstrated that parkinsonian rigidity increases during the Romberg test, gaze deviation, and oriented attention. In their number, breadth, and originality, Froment's contributions to the study of parkinsonian rigidity remain currently relevant to clinical and neurophysiological issues of PD.
(c) 2007 Movement Disorder Society.