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Fietzek, Urban M.; Schulz, Simon J.; Ziegler, Kerstin and Ceballos-Baumann, Andres O. (2020): The Minimal Clinically Relevant Change of the FOG Score. In: Journal of Parkinsons Disease, Vol. 10, No. 1: pp. 325-332

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Background: Freezing of gait is a highly disabling symptom in persons with Parkinson's disease (PwP). Despite its episodic character, freezing can be reliably evaluated using the FOG score. The description of the minimal clinically relevant change is a requirement for a meaningful interpretation of its results. Objective: To determine the minimal clinically relevant change of the FOG score. Methods: We evaluated video recordings of a standardized freezing-evoking gait parkour, i.e., the FOG score just before and 30 minutes after the intake of a regular levodopa dose in a randomized blinded fashion. The minimal clinically relevant response was considered a value of one or more on a 7-step Likert-type response scale [-3;+3] that served as the anchor. The minimal clinically relevant change was determined by ROC analysis. Results: 37 PwP (Hoehn & Yahr stages 2.5-4, 27 male, 10 female) were aged 68.2 years on average (range 45-80). Mean disease duration was 12.9 years (2-29 years). Minimum FOG score was 0 and Maximum FOG score was 29. Mean FOG scores before medication were 10.6, and 11.1 after medication intake, with changes ranging from -14.7 to +16.7. The minimal clinically relevant change (MCRC) for improvement based on expert clinician rating was three scale points with a sensitivity of 0.67 and a specificity of 0.96. Conclusions: The FOG score is recognized as a useful clinical instrument for the evaluation of freezing in the clinical setting. Knowledge of the MCRC should help to define responses to interventions that are discernible and meaningful to the expert physician and to the patient.

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