The Practicalities of Assessing Freezing of Gait
SourceJournal of Parkinson's Disease, 6, 4, (2016), pp. 667-674
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Intention & Action
Journal of Parkinson's Disease
SubjectRadboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
BACKGROUND: Freezing of gait (FOG) is a mysterious, complex and debilitating phenomenon in Parkinson's disease. Adequate assessment is a pre-requisite for managing FOG, as well as for assigning participants in FOG research. The episodic nature of FOG, as well as its multiple clinical expressions make its assessment challenging. OBJECTIVE: To highlight the available assessment tools and to provide practical, experience-based recommendations for reliable assessment of FOG. METHODS: We reviewed FOG assessment from history taking, questionnaires, lab and home-based measurements and examined how these methods account for presence and severity of FOG, their limits and advantages. The practicalities for their use in clinical and research practice are highlighted. RESULTS: According to the available assessment tools severity of FOG is marked by one or a combination of multiple clinical expressions including frequency, duration, triggering circumstances, response to levodopa, association with falls and fear of falling, or need for assistance to avoid falls. CONCLUSIONS: To date, a unique methodological tool that encompasses the entire complexity of FOG is lacking. Combining methods should give a better picture of FOG severity, in accordance with the precise clinical or research context. Further development of any future assessment tool requires understanding and thorough analysis of the specific clinical expressions of FOG.
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