Freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease: current treatments and the potential role for cognitive training

Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2014;32(3):411-22. doi: 10.3233/RNN-130370.


Freezing of gait (FOG) is a complex motor symptom of Parkinson's disease that manifests as an inability to generate effective gait, leading to a significant falls risk and a severe impact on quality of life. Research into effective treatment options has provided relatively limited benefits and is often hindered by substantial limitations. In this article, current treatment and research options are briefly discussed and a proposal for the further exploration of non-invasive therapeutic approaches is given. Recent advances in the literature continue to identify a pattern of selective executive dysfunction in patients with freezing of gait and such findings highlight a possible common underlying pathophysiology. Therefore, cognitive training is of particular interest as it may be able to improve executive processes thus reducing the manifestation of FOG. This article focuses on the existing evidence for such intervention strategies and proposes that targeted cognitive training may offer a novel treatment option for FOG that is worthy of an increased research focus.

Keywords: Freezing of gait; Parkinson's disease; cognitive training; executive function; neurorehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*


  • Antiparkinson Agents