This is a randomized and controlled crossover study. The same individual patient was part of both, experimental (real acupuncture) and control group (false acupuncture/sham), and the sequence was randomized. Balance and gait parameters were measured at two different moments, before and after treatment, using four force platforms as well as the collection of 3D markers positions taken by 11 cameras. Images were analyzed using Qualisys Track Manager software that let us extract data related to the quality of gait and balance.
Results: Statistically significant differences were found in gait speed (p = 0.016), gait cadence (p = 0.006), support base width (p = 0.0001), medio-lateral oscillation (p = 0.017), left-right step length (p = 0.0002), and stride length: right-right (p = 0.0000) and left-left (p = 0.0018), time of left support phase (p = 0.029), right support phase (p = 0.025) and double support phase (p = 0.015), between the initial and final moments for the experimental group. Differences in right-left stride length were found for both groups.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that the acupuncture protocol used objectively could improve gait in Parkinson disease patients. A deep research involving a statistical evaluation supported on a larger number of voluntaries should be accomplished to confirming these promising preliminary results.