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J Mov Disord. 2016 Jan;9(1):40-3. doi: 10.14802/jmd.15030. Epub 2015 Dec 3.

Can Postural Instability Respond to Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation in Patients with Parkinson's Disease?

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Nara Medical University, Nara, Japan.
2
Graduate School of Health Science, Kio University, Nara, Japan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) activates the vestibular afferents, and these changes in vestibular input exert a strong influence on the subject's posture or standing balance. In patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), vestibular dysfunction might contribute to postural instability and gait disorders.

METHODS:

Current intensity was increased to 0.7 mA, and the current was applied to the patients for 20 minutes. To perform a sham stimulation, the current intensity was increased as described and then decreased to 0 mA over the course of 10 seconds. The patient's status was recorded continuously for 20 minutes with the patient in the supine position.

RESULTS:

Three out of 5 patients diagnosed with PD with postural instability and/or abnormal axial posture showed a reduction in postural instability after GVS. The score for item 12 of the revised Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale part 3 was decreased in these patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

The mechanism of postural instability is complex and not completely understood. In 2 out of the 5 patients, postural instability was not changed in response to GVS. Nonetheless, the GVS-induced change in postural instability for 3 patients in our study suggests that GVS might be a therapeutic option for postural instability.

KEYWORDS:

Galvanic vestibular stimulation; Parkinson; Postural instability; Posture.; Vestibular dysfunction; Vestibular stimulation

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