Factors influencing turning and its relationship with falls in individuals with Parkinson's disease

Fang Yu Cheng, Yea Ru Yang, Chung Jen Wang, Yih Ru Wu, Shih Jung Cheng, Han Cheng Wang, Ray Yau Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Falls are a major problem for people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Many studies indicate that more than 50% of people with PD have difficulty in turning that may lead to falls during daily activities. The aims of this study were to identify the relationship between turning performance and falls, and to determine the factors that influence turning performance. Methods: This study examined 45 patients with idiopathic PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage 1-3) using a battery of tests, including 180u turn time, balance, and muscle strength. The levels of disease severity and freezing of gait were also measured. The number of falls in the past 6 months was recorded. Results: Sixteen out of forty-five participants experienced falls in the past 6 months. A receiver operating characteristic curve showed that turn time was highly related to falls [more affected side: sensitivity = 0.81, specificity = 0.79, area under the curve (AUC) = 0.83; less affected side: sensitivity = 0.88, specificity = 0.76, AUC = 0.83]. The most important factor influencing turn time was balance ability (both sides: p = 0.000) according to the regression model. Correlations between turn time and dynamic balance were further established with reaction time, movement velocity, endpoint excursion, and maximal excursion of the LOS (limits of stability) test. Conclusion: The time needed to complete a 180u turn during the SQT (step/quick turn) test is a good index to differentiate fallers from non-fallers in persons with PD. Turn time is most influenced by balance. Furthermore, balance control, especially in an anterior or sideways direction, is important for turning performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere93572
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2014


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