Evaluating the driving ability in patients with Parkinson's disease using a driving simulator

Driving is challenging for patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), due to an impaired motor function and decreased attention capabilities. The driving capacity in PD patients was assessed in this study by comparing neurological signs. Using a driving simulator (Safety Master NT-932) that tested the reaction time in response to traffic signals and steering wheel errors the driving ability of PD patients was evaluated. The authors studied the correlations between the total Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score, the UPDRS part III score, the subscores of the UPDRS part III score, age, PD disease duration, braking reaction time, steering wheel errors and total scores for driving safety test results. 'On' state regular PD licensed drivers (n=42; mean age: 63 years) in Hoehn and Yahr stages II-III participated after their cognitive status was confirmed using mini-mental state examinations. Significant (p<0.05) correlations with the number of steering wheel errors were exhibited by the UPDRS scores, the UPDRS part III scores and the postural instability subscores but not with the braking reaction time or the total safety scores of the test results. Although it is not sufficient alone for deciding whether PD patients should be allowed to drive, the UPDRS is an established evaluation method used to estimate PD signs. It is suggested by the authors' findings that in the assessment of PD patients who are active drivers, determining driving ability using a driving simulator might be a useful adjunct to UPDRS scores. Complex measurements, including motor performance with perception of stimuli and attention, are required in the estimating of driving ability.


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  • Accession Number: 01483525
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 28 2013 10:25AM