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Gait analysis in PSP and NPH: Dual-task conditions make the difference.

EMBO J. 2018 Feb 19. pii: e97390. doi: 10.15252/emNeurology. 2018 Feb 21. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005168. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005168. [Epub ahead of print] bj.201797390. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Selge C, Schoeberl F, Zwergal A, Nuebling G, Brandt T, Dieterich M, Schniepp R, Jahn K.
Publication Date: 2018



To test whether quantitative gait analysis of gait under single- and dual-task conditions can be used for a differential diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH).


In this cross-sectional study, temporal and spatial gait parameters were analyzed in 38 patients with PSP (Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy diagnostic criteria), 27 patients with iNPH (international iNPH guidelines), and 38 healthy controls. A pressure-sensitive carpet was used to examine gait under 5 conditions: single task (preferred, slow, and maximal speed), cognitive dual task (walking with serial 7 subtractions), and motor dual task (walking while carrying a tray).


The main results were as follows. First, both patients with PSP and those with iNPH exhibited significant gait dysfunction, which was worse in patients with iNPH with a more broad-based gait (p < 0.001). Second, stride time variability was increased in both patient groups, more pronounced in PSP (p = 0.009). Third, cognitive dual task led to a greater reduction of gait velocity in PSP (PSP 34.4% vs iNPH 16.9%, p = 0.002). Motor dual task revealed a dissociation of gait performance: patients with PSP considerably worsened, but patients with iNPH tended to improve.


Patients with PSP seem to be more sensitive to dual-task perturbations than patients with iNPH. An increased step width and anisotropy of the effect of dual-task conditions (cognitive vs motor) seem to be good diagnostic tools for iNPH.

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