Research Insights

Laserlight cues for gait freezing in Parkinson’s disease: an open-label study.

Donovan, S., Lim, C., Diaz, N., Browner, N., Rose, P., Sudarsky, L.R., Tarsy, D., Fahn, S., Simon, D.K. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 17(4): 240-245. Laserlight cues for gait freezing in Parkinson’s disease: an open-label study. ,

Background of the Study: Freezing of gait (FOG), or a sudden, brief inability to start or maintain normal stepping movements, is prevalent symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that affects about 32% of patients with PD. Unfortunately, unlike other symptoms of PD, FOG is resistant to Parkinson’s medications and shows little improvement with ordinary walking aids. Since FOG often leads to falls and can contribute to disability and quality of life impairment in patients with PD, there is a significant need for more effective strategies for controlling FOG in PD.
Accordingly, a recent study conducted by researchers of the Harvard Medical School (Boston) and Columbia University (New York), establishes that the use of laserlight visual cues (laserlight “rods” or horizontal floor markers that help to signal or initiate walking) is an effective strategy for managing FOG and reducing falls in patients with PD. This suggestion was based on a comparative analysis of freezing and fall frequency in patients with FOG in PD when using a standard walking aid (i.e. cane and/or walker) and when using a walking aid with a laserlight feature.
Purpose of Study
: The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of laserlight visual cues for controlling FOG in 26 Parkinson’s patients with FOG. Click here to download a PDF of this study.

Click here to read the abstract.

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