Eye Blink Changes During Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease

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Freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's Dis- ease (PD) patients can have a signi cant impact on the daily lives of patients. Increased cognitive load has been related to more FOG. Besides, cognitive load has been found to have an in uence on blink rate. However, the relationship between FOG and blink rate has not yet been investigated. Eye blink rates of 15 OFF medica- tion PD patients were compared over three FOG stages (non-FOG, pre-FOG & FOG). We found blink rate to signi cantly decrease during FOG episodes as compared to pre-FOG. Individual blink rate analyses yielded sig- ni cant di erences for 5 out of 15 subjects. In to- tal, 711 FOG episodes were measured. These results might indicate subjects experience more load during FOG episodes as compared to pre-FOG. Besides cog- nitive load, uctuations in dopamine modulation and anxiety might also play a role in the processes underly- ing and preceding FOG. These results contribute to ex- posing physiological correlates of FOG. Moreover, these results could potentially nd useful applications in de- tecting and predicting FOG.
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