Effects of mental practice associated with motor physical therapy on gait and risk of falls in Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study
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ABSTRACT The objective of this pilot study, carried out in a university hospital of reference in Pernambuco, was to assess the effects of mental practice associated with motor physical therapy on gait and the risk of falls in people with Parkinson’s disease. The study sample consisted of 18 subjects, of both sexes, with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, divided into experimental group (8 individuals) and control group (10 individuals). Both groups performed fifteen 40-minute sessions of motor physical therapy twice a week. In the intervention group, physical therapy was associated with mental practice (15 minutes). Regarding the primary outcome variables, the duration of the timed up and go test and of the 10-meter walking test reduced, but the difference was not significant. Speed, cadence and dynamic gait index increased after the intervention in the experimental group, with a significant difference (p=0.02). The number of steps was maintained in both groups. The results suggest that the mental practice associated with motor physical therapy reduces the risk of falls compared with applied motor physical therapy alone.