Using music to improve mobility in Parkinson's disease: Effects beyond gait?
Prof Simone DALLA BELLAa
a Movement to Health Laboratory, EuroMov, Université de Montpellier
Auditory stimulation via rhythmical cues, such as in music, can be used successfully in the rehabilitation of motor functions in patients with movement disorders. A prototypical example is provided by dysfunctional gait in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). Coupling steps to external rhythmic cues (the beat of music or the sounds of a metronome) can lead to long-term motor improvements, such as increased walking speed and greater stride length. These effects are likely to involve brain areas which are typically functional in PD (e.g., cerebellar-thalamocortical networks). Because these areas are involved in perceiving and producing rhythm, parallel improvement in rhythmic tasks beyong gait is expected. I will provide an example of recent studies in which we show the beneficial effects of musically cued gait training (MCGT) on gait performance but also in behavioral tasks involving rhythm perception and production. In this study 15 IPD patients were submitted to a four-week MCGT program, in which they walked to music, 30 minutes, three times a week. Another example concerns the use of new technologies to implement music and rhythmic stimulation in everyday life and to adapt the training to the patient's needs.