Deep brain stimulation effects on gait variability in Parkinson's disease

Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Leor Gruendlinger, Lisa Scollins, Siobhan O'Herron, Daniel Tarsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) on fall risk in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) currently remain unclear. Although several gait parameters, such as gait speed, have shown improvement with DBS, some studies have reported an increased fall risk following DBS. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of bilateral DBS on gait variability, a marker of fall risk. The gait of 13 patients with idiopathic PD was analyzed to determine the influence of DBS, levodopa and both therapies together. Following treatment with both levodopa and STN DBS, subjects displayed improved gait speed, reduced gait variability (enhanced stability), and lower Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores. Although UPDRS scores improved with STN DBS alone, parallel improvements were not seen for gait variability. These findings suggest that different mechanisms may contribute to performance on UPDRS motor testing and gait stability in response to DBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1688-1692
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number11
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2009


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Gait
  • Gait variability
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus


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