Postural instability (PI) is common in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). We measured sensory and motor contributions to PI in 50 patients with advanced IPD, off and on medication and in a subset pre- and 3, 6 and 12 months post-unilateral pallidotomy, using computerized dynamic posturography [specifically, the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) and the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) subscale PIGD (Postural Instability and Gait Disorder)]. Off medication, all patients had abnormal PIGD scores. The group could be separated into those with normal SOT equilibrium scores (SOTN) and those, the majority, with abnormal postural control when sensory feedback was limited (SOTABN). Medication improved the PIGD scores but worsened the SOT scores in the majority of patients. Increases in spontaneous sway in some patients contributed to the negative effect of medication on SOT scores. However, this could not explain the detrimental effect of medication on SOT scores in at least 40% of patients. On the other hand, pallidotomy improved both PIGD and SOT scores in both groups. A predictor of good outcome from pallidotomy concerning PI was the degree of worsening of the effect that medication had on SOT5 scores. PI in IPD appears to be multifactorial. We propose that the PIGD score reflects sensory and motor aspects of postural control, with normal sensory feedback, while the SOT equilibrium scores measure the sensory organizational process of postural control in the presence of altered sensory inputs. There is a dissociation between the effects of medication and pallidotomy on motor and sensory components of postural control, which may reflect the underlying pathophysiological mechanism responsible for these different components of PI. We suggest that patients with advanced IPD and PI on medication should consider adjuvant surgical treatment for better postural control.
View details for Web of Science ID 000177504900017
View details for PubMedID 12183355