Bradykinesia is a cardinal symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Both aging and disease are shown to be associated with decreased adaptability to environmental stresses characterized by reduced complexity (or increased regularity) of biorhythms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the regularity of movement in individuals with PD, and the effect of dopaminergic medication. Nine subjects with PD and eight controls performed wrist flexion/extension movements at maximal velocity and range of motion. Subjects with PD were tested under two medication conditions. Approximate entropy (ApEn) was calculated to assess the regularity of the movement, with the smaller value associated with the greater regularity. Data revealed that subjects with PD had lower ApEn values than controls. Medication did not alter the ApEn values. These findings demonstrate that impaired voluntary movement in individuals with PD is associated with increased regularity of movement and this exaggerated regularity appears less sensitive to anti-PD medication.
The authors are with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, Creighton University, Omaha, NE.