Study Indicates New Brain Pathways Created by Visual Cues for People Afflicted With Freezing of Gait As a Result of Parkinson's Disease

Source: MediGait. New study published in the Frontiers in Neurology Journal indicates the formation of an alternative cortical sensory-motor pathway in the brain during training with visual feedback in a patient with Parkinson's disease, resulting in improved walking and reduction of freezing.

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Haifa, Israel (PRWEB) February 11, 2014

Freezing of gait (FOG) is an elusive phenomenon that debilitates a large number of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients regardless of stage of disease, medication status, or Deep.

Brain Stimulation implantation. During FOG, patients experience feeling their legs “glued” to the ground and are unable to move forward. FOG has devastating consequences on patients' well being, resulting in traumatic falls, debilitating fear, isolation and depression.

It is well known that many people with Parkinson's disease respond to visual and auditory cues, effectively improving walking balance and reducing FOG. Several studies performed with real-time feedback cues using the GaitAid device for Parkinson's disease showed a residual improvement in walking after walking with the device lasting beyond the time of device use.

In a recent case study performed at the Department of Neurosciences, University of California, EEG recording were compared between a Parkinson's patient who's freezing responds to visual cues, a patient who's freezing is unaffected by visual cues and a control group. The patient responding to visual cues did indeed improve his walking during and after device use, indicating, as in previous studies, a learning effect during device use that results in improved walking beyond device use. EEG recordings and analysis indicates the creation of new neural pathways in the brain to control the walking body after using the device. Link to study: http://www.parkinsonsfreezing.medigait.com/studies.html.

Prof. Yoram Baram from the Technion Institute of Technology, developer of the GaitAid device said, “I strongly feel that the message conveyed by the studies already performed, and by the many letters received so far from patients and practitioners, simply cannot be ignored. I believe that training with virtual sensory feedback carries substantial hope, if not for all patients, for a significant majority.”

For more information about the GaitAid, please visit: http://www.MediGait.com.

About MediGait
Yoram Baram received his PhD from MIT and is a Professor of Computer Science and incumbent of the Roy Matas / Winnipeg Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. The idea for the GaitAid Virtual Walker 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 Professor Baram later applied to development of the GaitAid trainer, is that the optical images of objects help the observer navigate, stabilize, and pace movement in space.


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