Relationships between freezing of gait severity and cognitive deficits in parkinson’s disease

Jamie L. Scholl, Arturo I. Espinoza, Wijdan Rai, Matt Leedom, Lee A. Baugh, Patti Berg-Poppe, Arun Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Freezing of gait (FOG) is one of the most debilitating motor symptoms experienced by patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), as it can lead to falls and a reduced quality of life. Evidence supports an association between FOG severity and cognitive functioning; however, results remain debatable. PD patients with (PDFOG+, n = 41) and without FOG (PDFOG–, n = 39) and control healthy subjects (n = 41) participated in this study. The NIH toolbox cognition battery, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and the interval timing task were used to test cognitive domains. Measurements were compared between groups using multivariable models and adjusting for covariates. Correlation analyses, linear regression, and mediation models were applied to examine relationships among disease duration and severity, FOG severity, and cognitive functioning. Significant differences were observed between controls and PD patients for all cognitive domains. PDFOG+ and PDFOG– exhibited differences in Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) test, interval timing task, and MoCA scores. After adjusting for covariates in two different models, PDFOG+ and PDFOG– differed in both MoCA and DCCS scores. In addition, significant relationships between FOG severity and cognitive function (MoCA, DCCS, and interval timing) were also found. Regression models suggest that FOG severity may be a predictor of cognitive impairment, and mediation models show the effects of cognitive impairment on the relationship between disease severity and FOG severity. Overall, this study provides insight into the relationship between cognitive and FOG severity in patients with PD, which could aid in the development of therapeutic interventions to manage both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1496
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cognition
  • Disease severity
  • Freezing of gait
  • Levodopa
  • Parkinson’s disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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