Postural deficits in Huntington's disease when performing motor skills involved in daily living

Gait Posture. 2011 Mar;33(3):457-61. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.12.025. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Previous studies of Huntington's disease (HD) have reported motor control deficits for selected fine and gross motor skills. However, no studies have metrically assessed postural control in this clinical group when performing motor skills involved in daily living. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to evaluate and compare postural control of individuals with confirmed Huntington's disease and non-gene carriers when completing three functional postural tasks. Eleven individuals with HD (mean age=47.1 years: UHDRS mean=34.5: mean age of HD onset 34.6 years: mean CAG repeat=44.1) and 17 non-gene carriers (NGC) (mean age=39.2 years: UHDRS mean=0.13: mean CAG repeat=20.5) completed three tests on a force plate interfaced with a computer. The tests were a step up and over an obstacle (SUO) test, a sit-to-stand (STS) test, and a step and turn (ST) test. Selected kinematic and kinetic variables were used to quantify postural control. Data were analyzed using MANOVA procedures and discriminant function analysis. HD patients were significantly slower in completing all three tests (HD SUO=2.3 s vs. NGC SUO=1.6 s; HD STS=0.8 s vs. NGC STS=0.5 s; HD ST=1.7 s vs. NGC ST=0.9 s) and developed less rising force during the step up and over test (HD=25.8% body weight vs. NGC=39.4% body weight) but not for the sit-to-stand test. Additionally, sway velocity of the center of gravity (COG) was significantly higher for HD patients when performing the sit-to-stand (HD=4.1°/s vs. NGC=2.9°/s) and step and turn tests (HD=33.7°/s vs. NGC=21.7°/s). HD patients manifest significant postural control deficits when performing motor skills typical of daily living activities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / complications
  • Huntington Disease / genetics
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Postural Balance*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult