Objectives: Parkinson's disease (PD) generates a high incidence of falls, however, there is little evidence of instabilities in the initial stages. This investigation sought to compare the muscle activation times in patients with initial PD against a postural disturbance vs. a control group. Materials and methods: The electromyographic activity (EMG) of 10 patients with PD in early stages (61.3 ±3.8 years) and a control group of 10 adults (62.2 ±3.0 year) was evaluated. The participants were subjected to a surface disturbance, which generated a stabilization response. The test was performed under 2 conditions: eyes open (OA) v/s eyes closed (OC). Trunk (spinal erector) and lower extremity (soleus, tibialis anterior, femoral biceps, femoral rectus, adductor magnus, gluteus medius) muscle activation time was analyzed using surface EMG. Results: The PD group showed faster response times compared to the control group in the soleus muscle in OC (P=.04). This same muscle showed differences when comparing OA vs. OC only in the PD group (P=.04), showing a shorter response time in the OC condition. When comparing the spinal erector muscle, the PD group showed slower response times in the OA (P=.02) and OC (P=.04) conditions compared to the control group. Conclusions: Muscle activation times show that people with PD respond slower in the trunk muscles, while activation times decrease at the distal level. In the early stages, the slower responses at the trunk level could explain the onset of instability postural in these patients.
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