Parkinson's Virtual Reality Gait Training Device Improves Quality of Life

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Parkinson's virtual reality gait training device improves quality of life.

Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis patients are discovering first-hand that daily exercise with a new virtual reality device, the GaitAid Virtual Walker, has a positive effect on their walking ability, minimizing balance problems and improving quality of life.

Yoram Baram, a computer science professor and incumbent of the Roy Matas / Winnipeg Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology has collaborated with several neurologists specializing in treating Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other movement disorders, in developing and testing a new, non-invasive training device designed to proactively minimize freezing and balance problems during walking. The noticeable physical and mental improvement of patients participating in clinical studies led Baram to bring the GaitAid device to market as a FDA registered medical device and is offering the device for a trial period on his company's website http://www.medigait.com.

Physical therapist, Ben Weinstock from Brooklyn, NY offers the GaitAid to his home and clinic patients. Ben says, "I have used the GaitAid for my patients with varying stages of Parkinson's Disease, in addition to those sufferiing from other neurological disorders. The GaitAid has become a mainstay of my treatments, as it provides visual and auditory cues during gait training. All too often therapy concentrates on movements but neglects sensory inputs. With the GaitAid it is easy to provide true "sensorimotor" physical therapy. The biggest surprise is that it even helps chronic conditions and late-stage Parkinson's."

Most Parkinson's patients using the GaitAid at home notice improvement in walking, and maintaining balance. Daniel Neal from Palm Springs, CA said, "As soon as I tried it my mobility improved tremendously! For the first time in over a year I am already walking without a cane. I am so impressed and so grateful. I was dreading my planned trip out of the country until I received your glasses. I can not wait to share the miracle with my friends who suffer from PD. Thank you!"

The user-friendly device includes special glasses and earphones which provide sensory feedback of visual images and sounds in response to the patient's movements. The GaitAid requires no special training in order to start using it at home to gain improvement. Walking sessions with the GaitAid evoke a neuroplastic response in the patient's brain, creating new healthy neural circuits which by-pass the disease-damaged areas.

Parkinson's Disease remains a mystery of medical science. For reason's unknown, certain brain cells stop producing a substance called Dopamine, which affects an individual's movement, strength and balance. There is currently no cure, though stem cell research offers future promise.

Emerging scientific evidence confirms that movement lessens neurological deterioration that contributes to Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis progression.

Jeanne Crace from Hamilton, AL says, "I am still getting used to my new freedom while walking. I find myself unconsciously reaching for Dan's hand for support. I still use my cane for that extra secure feeling during my off times or if I become over tired and shaky. I am looking forward to some more travel and the ability to participate in more fun with the kids when we're together. I still train with my virtual walker most mornings unless I am having a bad off day."

The idea for the GaitAid project was sparked 12 years ago while Professor Baram was designing a mechanism for NASA to navigate low-flying helicopters around obstacles. The concept of the design, which Baram later applied to the medical device, is that the optical images of objects help the observer navigate, stabilize and pace movement in space.

The device is available for a trial period of 30 days:

online http://www.medigait.com
email: support (at) medigait.com
or by phone 888-777-9906.

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Audrey Holmes-Baram
MediGait
888-777-9906
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