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OBJECTIVE:: To investigate whether gait training with treadmill improves functional tasks of lower extremities in patients with Parkinson disease (PD).
DESIGN:: Randomized controlled trial including two groups, the treadmill training group and the nonintervention group. SETTING:: University hospital. PATIENTS:: Thirty consecutive patients diagnosed with idiopathic PD, who were on stable regimens of antiparkinsonian medication, able to walk independently, and had not participated in a rehabilitation program in the previous 3 months. Patients with severe cognitive impairments or severe musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neurologic, or other systemic disorders were excluded. Twenty-four patients completed the study. INTERVENTIONS:: Group I attended a training program on a treadmill for 6 weeks, and group II served as the control group. Both groups were instructed in home mobility exercises. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS:: The primary study outcome measures were timed functional lower-extremity tasks (walking at a corridor, U-turn, turning around a chair, stairs, standing on one foot, standing from a chair), and secondary outcome measures were exercise test and patient's global assessment. Assessments were performed at baseline and at the end of the study.
RESULTS:: There were significant improvements in functional lower-extremity tests, exercise test parameters, and patients' global assessment in group I, whereas no significant improvements were observed in group II.
CONCLUSIONS:: Even though long-term effects remain unknown and the study sample was small, it was concluded that treadmill training in PD patients led to improvements in lower-extremity tasks, thus improving patients' physical well-being in daily life.