Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation for Prevention of Falls in Parkinson’s Disease

This study at the Center for Biomedical Research in Music, Colorado State University examined the effectiveness of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS), a gait training technique, in preventing falls in persons with Parkinson’s disease.

Persons with a history of falls in the 6 months prior to study initiation trained daily for two periods of 8 weeks with the gait training technique. The control group stopped training for 8 weeks and resumed RAS training for the final 8 weeks whereas the experimental group trained continuously for the full 24 weeks of the study. Study participants were tested before the start of training and then every 8 weeks during the study. The research team measured basic gait data like velocity, stride length and step frequency as well as the number of fall incidences, a fear of falling survey, balance, and the kinematics of leg movements.

The findings offer evidence that continuous and intermittent RAS treatment over time can be an effective fall reduction tool in people with Parkinson’s.

  • Dr. Michael Thaut, Colorado State University
  • Ruth Rice, DPT, Colorado State University
  • Dr. Gerald McIntosh, Colorado State University