Non-motor predictors of freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease

Gait Posture. 2019 Feb:68:311-316. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.12.009. Epub 2018 Dec 6.


Background: The etiology of freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease (PD) is yet to be clarified. Non-motor risk factors including cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance and mood disorders have been shown in freezing of gait.

Research question: We aimed to determine the predictive value of non-motor features in freezing of gait development.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative. Fifty PD patients with self-reported freezing of gait, and 50 PD patients without freezing of gait at the fourth year visit were included. Groups were matched for Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale Part III scores. Several cognitive and non-cognitive tests were used for non-motor features at baseline and over time. Executive function, visuospatial function, processing speed, learning and memory tests were used for cognition. Non-cognitive tests included sleepiness, REM sleep behavior disorder, depression and anxiety scales.

Results: Patients with freezing of gait had higher scores on sleepiness, REM sleep behavior disorder, depression and anxiety scales. However, predictor model analysis revealed that baseline processing speed, learning and sleepiness scores were predictive of self-reported freezing of gait development over time.

Significance: Our findings suggest that specific cognitive deficits and sleep disorders are predictive of future freezing of gait. These features may be helpful in identifying underlying networks in freezing of gait and should be further investigated with neuroimaging studies.

Keywords: Cognition; Freezing; Gait; Parkinson’s disease; Sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors