Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 220
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825463

Ultrasonic gait analysis: Differentiation of effects of schizophrenia and of antipsychotic treatment

A Putzhammer 1, L Pfeiff 1, M Perfahl 1, B Heindl 1, G Hajak 1, HE Klein 1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg

The studies assessed the influence of antipsychotic treatment on human gait via ultrasonic topometric gait analysis. Gait parameters were evaluated in a test-retest design under switch from conventional to atypical antipsychotic treatment and in independent samples of drug-naïve, conventionally treated and atypically treated patients as well as in matched controls.

Results indicate that schizophrenia causes a primary disturbance of stride length regulation. Conventional antipsychotic treatment intensifies this deficit, whereas atypical antipsychotic treatment does not cause any additional gait disturbances. In contrast to the spatial parameters, the temporal structure of schizophrenic gait is not affected either by antipsychotic treatment or schizophrenia itself. Gait dysfunction in schizophrenia parallels in some aspects gait disturbances in PD. Thalamic output towards the SMA might be impaired by the primary processes of the illness as well as by antidopaminergic effects of antipsychotic medication.


Putzhammer et al. Spatial and temporal parameters of gait disturbances in schizophrenic patients. Schizophr Res (2003) in press, available online

Putzhammer et al. Psychiatr Praxis 30 (2003) S110–114