The effects of equine-assisted therapy on gait in adults with Parkinson’s disease: A preliminary analysis

Date
2023
Authors
Alvis, Hunter
Mori, Kanji
Levine, Nicholas A.
Martinez, Andrea
Sessums, Suzanne
Becker, Kevin
Roberts, Heather
Rigby, Brandon R.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
TopSCHOLAR®
Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, neurological disorder caused by the destruction of dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain. To treat motor symptoms of PD, individuals may choose alternative modes of exercise, such as equine-assisted therapy (EAT), to improve physiological health. PURPOSE: To determine changes in gait following 8 weeks of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) in older men with PD.


PURPOSE: To determine changes in gait following 8 weeks of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) in older men with PD.


METHODS: Six older adults (age = 68.0 ± 8.6 yrs; height = 178.6 ± 8.3 cm; weight = 93.4 ± 16.3 kg; Hoehn and Yahr classification = 2.8 ± 0.4; time since diagnosis = 7.3 ± 5.0 yrs) performed two, 60-minute riding sessions weekly for 8 weeks. Before, midway, immediately after, and at two points following the EAT program (at 8 weeks and 16 weeks), spatiotemporal parameters of gait were measured using motion capture with infrared markers strategically placed on lower-body anatomical landmarks. Participants walked at a self-selected speed without the use of an assistive device in the capture space for 15 consecutive strides, turned around, and walked back across the space. Gait velocity, step length, time spent in stance phase, time spent in swing phase, toe clearance were collected. Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis-of-variance and a Bonferroni correction with a significance level of 0.05.


RESULTS: Gait velocity (101.8 ± 29.1 vs. 109.2 ± 34.9 vs. 116.3 ± 32.8 vs. 105.7 ± 26.2 vs. 108.0 ± 25.4 cm/s for pre-EAT, midway through EAT, immediately post-EAT, 8 weeks after EAT concluded, and 16 weeks after EAT concluded, respectively) was significant across all time points (p = 0.03). All other variables were statistically similar (p > 0.05) across all time points.


CONCLUSION: There is an observable trend towards significance in each gait variable immediately after 8 weeks of EAT. The study is ongoing and will further explore these differences.

Description
Abstract originally published in International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings, 2(15). English. Published online 2023. https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss15/158
Keywords
Progressive neurological disorder, Physiological health, Spatiotemporal parameters of gait
Citation
This is an abstract that is available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss15/158. Recommended citation: Alvis, H., Mori, K., Levine, N. A., Martinez, A., Sessums, S., Becker, K., Roberts, H., & Rigby, B. R. (2023). The effects of equine-assisted therapy on gait in adults with Parkinson’s disease: A preliminary analysis. International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings, 2(15). This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.
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