Somatosensory Focused Balance Training without cues can improve balance and gait in early Parkinson’s disease – a randomised pilot study

<p><b>Purpose:</b> To study the effect of Somatosensory Focused Balance Training without Cues, on gait and balance in people with early Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p><b>Materials and methods:</b> This was a randomised pilot study. Twenty-eight community-dwelling people with early Parkinson’s disease were randomised to immediate or delayed start of a 8w-group training in a community fitness location. Outcomes were measured at preintervention and postintervention. In addition, the early start group performed a 6-month follow up. Clinical outcome measures included: Berg Balance Scale (BBS), BDL Balance Scale, Timed Up and Go, 10 m walk test and the motor part of Unified Parkinson’s disease Rating Scale. Nonparametric statistics was used for analysis.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> Twenty-two participants (10 men, 12 female) were analysed (median age 69, Hoehn & Yahr 2.0). The participants improved significantly in performance of BBS (<i>p</i> = .007), BDL Balance Scale (<i>p</i> = .005), 10 m walk (<i>p</i> = .012) and mUPDRS (<i>p</i> = .027). At follow up, the improvement had declined. The small sample size restricts generalisability of the results.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> The intervention showed positive effects on balance, gait and mUPDRS, suggesting that this specific approach should be further explored as a rehabilitation method to delay balance decline in people in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.</p>