Background Postural instability is one of most disabling motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. Indices of multi-muscle synergies are new measurements of postural stability. Objectives We explored the effects of dopamine-replacement drugs on multi-muscle synergies stabilizing center of pressure coordinate and their adjustments prior to a self-triggered perturbation in patients with Parkinson's disease. We hypothesized that both synergy indices and synergy adjustments would be improved on dopaminergic drugs. Methods Patients at Hoehn-Yahr stages II and III performed whole-body tasks both off- and on-drugs while standing. Muscle modes were identified as factors in the muscle activation space. Synergy indices stabilizing center of pressure in the anterior-posterior direction were quantified in the muscle mode space during a load-release task. Results Dopamine-replacement drugs led to more consistent organization of muscles in stable groups (muscle modes). On-drugs patients showed larger indices of synergies and anticipatory synergy adjustments. In contrast, no medication effects were seen on anticipatory postural adjustments or other performance indices. Conclusions Dopamine-replacement drugs lead to significant changes in characteristics of multi-muscle synergies in Parkinson's disease. Studies of synergies may provide a biomarker sensitive to problems with postural stability and agility and to efficacy of dopamine-replacement therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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