BACKGROUND: In patients with Parkinson disease (PD), severe postural and gait impairments are rarely observed in early stage of disease and non-motor symptoms (NMS) are often overlooked. OBJECTIVE: This observational study aimed to characterize the impact of non-motor impairments on walking kinematics in early stages PD patients, and to assess the differences of gait parameters and NMS between PD patients with and without mild cognitive impairment (MCI). METHODS: Twenty-six patients with Modified Hoehn and Yahr Scale score≤2 were evaluated for NMS using Kings Parkinson's Pain Scale, Parkinson Fatigue Severity scale, Parkinson Anxiety Scale, Beck Depression Inventory and Epworth Sleepiness Scale, kinematic parameters through an inertial sensor and cognitive performance by a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. RESULTS: Fatigue had a moderate negative correlation with step cadence, and a moderate to strong positive correlation with gait duration, Timed Up and Go (TUG) and TUG Dual Task (p<0.01). Pain showed positive moderate correlation with gait duration (p<0.01). Twelve patients resulted affected by MCI and reported significantly worse scores in gait duration, pain and fatigue (p<0.05). According to cognitive z scores, PD-MCI group showed a moderate negative correlation between visuospatial abilities and fatigue (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: NMS significantly affect walking kinematics whereas a limited role of cognitive status on motor performance occur in the early PD stages.
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