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Brain Sci. 2019 Sep 18;9(9). pii: E239. doi: 10.3390/brainsci9090239.

Postural Instability in Parkinson's Disease: A Review.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67260, USA.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous progressive neurodegenerative disorder, which typically affects older adults; it is predicted that by 2030 about 3% of the world population above 65 years of age is likely to be affected. At present, the diagnosis of PD is clinical, subjective, nonspecific, and often inadequate. There is a need to quantify the PD factors for an objective disease assessment. Among the various factors, postural instability (PI) is unresponsive to the existing treatment strategies resulting in morbidity. In this work, we review the physiology and pathophysiology of postural balance that is essential to treat PI among PD patients. Specifically, we discuss some of the reported factors for an early PI diagnosis, including age, nervous system lesions, genetic mutations, abnormal proprioception, impaired reflexes, and altered biomechanics. Though the contributing factors to PI have been identified, how their quantification to grade PI severity in a patient can help in treatment is not fully understood. By contextualizing the contributing factors, we aim to assist the future research efforts that underpin posturographical and histopathological studies to measure PI in PD. Once the pathology of PI is established, effective diagnostic tools and treatment strategies could be developed to curtail patient falls.


PD diagnosis; PD factors; Parkinson’s disease (PD); postural instability (PI)

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