Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) and Motor Rehabilitation in Parkinson’s Disease: New Frontiers in Assessment and Intervention Protocols

Mauro Murgia1, 2, Federica Corona3, Roberta Pili4, Fabrizio Sors2, Tiziano Agostini2, Carlo Casula5, Massimiliano Pau3, Marco Guicciardi1, *
1 Department of Pedagogy, Psychology, Philosophy, University of Cagliari, Italy
2 Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy
3 Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cagliari, Italy
4 Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Italy
5 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, "G.Brotzu" General Hospital, Cagliari, Italy

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© 2015 Murgia et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pedagogy, Psychology, Philosophy, University of Cagliari, Via Is Mirrionis 1, 09123 Cagliari, Italy; Tel: +39 0706757518; Fax: +39 0706757291; E-mail:


Previous studies have demonstrated that physical therapy accompanied by Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) can improve the motor skills of patients with Parkinson’s disease and, in particular, their gait disturbances. In the present work we describe the neurological bases and perceptual-motor deficits generally associated with Parkinson’s disease, with a specific focus on gait disturbances. Within this framework, we review the role of auditory cueing in the modulation of patients’ gait, addressing this issue from the cognitive, neurological and biomechanical perspectives. In particular, we focus on the new frontiers of both assessment and intervention. With regards to the assessment, we describe the advantages of the three-dimensional quantitative multifactorial gait analysis. As concerns the intervention, we illustrate the potential impact of the administration of ecological footstep sounds as rhythmic cues.

Keywords: Gait, Parkinson’s disease, rehabilitation, rhythmic cues, sound.