(PRWEB) February 13, 2012
Disorders of posture and gait are a major source of functional disability in individuals with Parkinson's Disease (PD). These problems often respond poorly to treatment with anti-parkinsonian medications as well as other interventions such as deep brain stimulation surgery.
The disturbance of gait initiation, referred to as start hesitation, is common in patients with Parkinson’s disease and is linked with akinesia, or a lack of spontaneous movement and the prolonged time it takes to initiate a movement such as stepping.
The study by the department of Physical Therapy and Neurology at the Georgia Health Sciences University, published in the Dec. 2011 issue of the Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, included 47 patients with varying degree of Parkinson's disease. 21 patients were classified as moderately-severe while 26 were early stage not yet showing gait symptoms. The patients walked with a "closed-loop" cueing device called the GaitAid by MediGait.
The study showed significant improvement in step initiation for the moderately-severe group while the early stage group did not exhibit the problem in the first place.
The GaitAid from MediGait is an easy to use at-home or clinic virtual reality device. It includes a small unit that is clipped onto the patient’s pants and a pair of special goggles with headphones, which provide audio and visual stimulation in response to the patient’s movements. Simply walking with the device for 20 minutes a day was shown to improve walking for Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke and now Cerebral Palsy patients in several studies.
The current study highlighted the importance of using cognitive strategies while training with the GaitAid for an over all improvement in walking speed and step length for these patients. Prof. Baram, inventor of the GaitAid says - "this is not a surprising outcome. We've seen the positive effects of cognitive strategies in numerous trials with PD patients.
With the GaitAid, we developed a simple sequence of instructions given to the patients before using it which are crucial for success. Repeated use is important in achieving long term benefits.
The GaitAid is available for a 30-day at-home or clinic trial period.
More information is available online: http://www.medigait.com
About MediGait – MediGait LTD (http://www.MediGait.com) headquartered in Haifa, Israel was founded by Yoram Baram, a Professor of Computer Science and incumbent of the Roy Matas / Winnipeg Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. MediGait creates breakthrough movement feedback devices to improve quality of life for movement disorder patients.