We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Doorway-provoked freezing of gait and its treatment in Parkinson’s disease.

Cowie, D. and Limousin, P. and Peters, A. and Hariz, M. and Day, B.L. (2012) 'Doorway-provoked freezing of gait and its treatment in Parkinson’s disease.', Movement disorders., 27 (4). pp. 492-499.


Freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease can be difficult to study in the laboratory. Here we investigate the use of a variable-width doorway to provoke freeze behavior together with new objective methods to measure it. With this approach we compare the effects of anti-parkinsonian treatments (medications and deep-brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus) on freezing and other gait impairments. Ten “freezers” and 10 control participants were studied. Whole-body kinematics were measured while participants walked at preferred speed in each of 4 doorway conditions (no door present, door width at 100%, 125%, and 150% of shoulder width) and in 4 treatment states (offmeds/offstim, offmeds/onstim, onmeds/offstim, onmeds/onstim). With no doorway, the Parkinson's group showed characteristic gait disturbances including slow speed, short steps, and variable step timing. Treatments improved these disturbances. The Parkinson's group slowed further at doorways by an amount inversely proportional to door width, suggesting a visuomotor dysfunction. This was not improved by either treatment alone. Finally, freeze-like events were successfully provoked near the doorway and their prevalence significantly increased in narrower doorways. These were defined clinically and by 2 objective criteria that correlated well with clinical ratings. The risk of freeze-like events was reduced by medication but not by deep-brain stimulation. Freeze behavior can be provoked in a replicable experimental setting using the variable-width doorway paradigm, and measured objectively using 2 definitions introduced here. The differential effects of medication and deep-brain stimulation on the gait disturbances highlight the complexity of Parkinsonian gait disorders and their management.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cowie, D., Limousin, P., Peters, A., Hariz, M. and Day, B. L. (2012), Doorway-provoked freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease. Movement Disorders, 27 (4): 492–499, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:29 July 2014
Date of first online publication:April 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar