The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.
The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.
Digital trial lecture - time and place
- First opponent: Professor Lillemor Lundin-Olsson, Umeå University, Sweden
- Second opponent: Professor Astrid Bergland, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
- Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Bjørnar Hassel, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
Chair of defence
Professor II Mona Skjelland, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo
Professor Erika Franzén, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Many individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a degenerative neurological disorder affecting the basal ganglia, experience disturbances of postural control and gait. Structured exercise is an integral part of PD-management, and evidence based training programs that promote long-term effects are needed. The High Intensity Balance program (HiBalance-program) was developed to target Parkinson-specific balance and gait impairments. Focused progression was ensured through intensive physiotherapist-led training performed in smaller groups.
The aims of the thesis were firstly to explore valid and reliable methods for estimating level of variability in PD-gait. Secondly, the knowledge gained from this part of the thesis was implemented when evaluating immediate and long term-effects of the HiBalance-program on variables associated with pace, rhythm, variability, asymmetry and postural control aspects of PD-gait during normal and fast walking.
Overall, when estimating level of gait variability in PD-gait it is recommended that at least 40 steps are used, both for normal and fast walking speed. However, reliability could not be confirmed for slow gait, and caution is warranted when investigating gait variability at lower gait speeds.
Immediate training effects were seen in pace, rhythm and variability aspects of PD-gait, suggesting improved stability and motor control during normal and fast walking. However, improvements were lost within six months, and could reflect the susceptibility to evolutionary deterioration in pace and rhythm aspects of PD-gait, as well as decreased ability for long-term skill retention seen with PD. Upholding gait function in the mild to moderate stages of the disease may require regular booster sessions of intensive balance and gait training.
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