Cortical thickness as predictor of response to exercise in people with Parkinson's disease

Carla Silva-Batista, Anjanibhargavi Ragothaman, Martina Mancini, Patricia Carlson-Kuhta, Graham Harker, Se Hee Jung, John G. Nutt, Damien A. Fair, Fay B. Horak, Oscar Miranda-Domínguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We previously showed that dual-task cost (DTC) on gait speed in people with Parkinson's disease (PD) improved after 6 weeks of the Agility Boot Camp with Cognitive Challenge (ABC-C) exercise program. Since deficits in dual-task gait speed are associated with freezing of gait and gray matter atrophy, here we performed preplanned secondary analyses to answer two questions: (a) Do people with PD who are freezers present similar improvements compared to nonfreezers in DTC on gait speed with ABC-C? (b) Can cortical thickness at baseline predict responsiveness to the ABC-C? The DTC from 39 freezers and 43 nonfreezers who completed 6 weeks of ABC-C were analyzed. A subset of 51 participants (21 freezers and 30 nonfreezers) with high quality imaging data were used to characterize relationships between baseline cortical thickness and delta (Δ) DTC on gait speed following ABC-C. Freezers showed larger ΔDTC on gait speed than nonfreezers with ABC-C program (p <.05). Cortical thickness in visual and fronto-parietal areas predicted ΔDTC on gait speed in freezers, whereas sensorimotor-lateral thickness predicted ΔDTC on gait speed in nonfreezers (p <.05). When matched for motor severity, visual cortical thickness was a common predictor of response to exercise in all individuals, presenting the largest effect size. In conclusion, freezers improved gait automaticity even more than nonfreezers from cognitively challenging exercise. DTC on gait speed improvement was associated with larger baseline cortical thickness from different brain areas, depending on freezing status, but visual cortex thickness showed the most robust relationship with exercise-induced improvements in DTC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • challenging exercise
  • dual-task cost
  • freezing of gait
  • fronto-parietal cortical
  • gray matter atrophy
  • visual cortical

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