Published: 31-05-2016 21:22 | Updated: 07-08-2017 15:11

New thesis on gait, balance and cognition in people with Parkinson’s disease

Highly challenging training can improve gait, balance and the performance of a cognitive task while walking, in people with Parkinson’s disease. This according to a new thesis by Niklas Löfgren, PhD student at the Division of Physiotherapy.

Dissertation on June 1, see further information here.

What´s the main focus of your thesis?

My thesis is divided into a psychometric part and an intervention part.

The psychometric part investigated a new balance test, the Mini-BESTest, with regards to reproducibility (that is, if the test produces similar results at different test occasions) and construct validity (if the scores produced by the Mini-BESTest are in accordance with predetermined hypotheses).

The intervention part, a randomized controlled trial, investigated the effects of highly challenging gait and balance training in people with Parkinson’s disease. The training was performed three times per week for ten weeks at two hospitals and we compared a training group with a control group that received care as usual.

Which are the most important results?

The most important results derived from this research are that highly challenging training can improve gait, balance and the performance of a cognitive task while walking in people with Parkinson’s disease.

How can this new knowledge be useful for people, or contribute to the improvement of their health?

This knowledge will hopefully lead to increased emphasis on offering training opportunities in combination with medical treatment for people that are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease from an early disease stage.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

I will try to find a post-doc position, hopefully with the opportunity to further investigate how the performance of cognitive tasks while walking affect people in everyday life.

The thesis

Gait and balance in Parkinson's disease : psychometric properties and effects of training



Niklas Löfgren

Organizational unit: Sektionen för fysioterapi