Functional MRI to Study Gait Impairment in Parkinson's Disease: a Systematic Review and Exploratory ALE Meta-Analysis

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2019 Jun 18;19(8):49. doi: 10.1007/s11910-019-0967-2.


Purpose of review: Whilst gait impairment is a main cause for disability in Parkinson's disease (PD), its neural control remains poorly understood. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of surrogate features of gait in PD.

Findings: Assessing the results from PET or SPECT scans after a period of actual walking as well as fMRI during mental imagery or virtual reality (VR) gait paradigms, we found a varying pattern of gait-related brain activity. Overall, a decrease in activation of the SMA during gait was found in PD compared to elderly controls. In addition, the meta-analysis showed that the most consistent gait-related activation was situated in the cerebellar locomotor region (CLR) in PD. Despite methodological heterogeneity, the combined neuroimaging studies of gait provide new insights into its neural control in PD, suggesting that CLR activation likely serves a compensatory role in locomotion.

Keywords: Activation of likelihood estimation; Cerebellum; Gait; Meta-analysis; Neuroimaging; Parkinson’s disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*