Characterising freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease



Among the symptoms that mostly impact quality of life for people affected by Parkinson Disease (PD) are the problems associated with walking: rate loss, slowing down, shuffling, and freezing. Freezing is strongly related to the cognitive disorders that many of these patients show. Freezing responds poorly and irregularly to drug therapy and deep brain stimulation. To improve this, rhythmic sensory stimuli at frequencies related to the speed and cadence of the march are successfully being used. In a previous project, REMPARK, an automatic mobility support system (SAM) for PD was developed, consisting of a wearable inertial sensor for real-time detection of abnormal gait, wirelessly connected to a mobile phone which, in turn, acts as a gateway and processes the data from the sensory stimulation devices.

In the MASPARK project we are using this system to study freezing: there is a group of 25-30 patients meeting inclusion criteria. The experiment is performed at the day-care centre and at patients’ homes.

The following parameters are measured:

> The number of freezing episodes and how long they stay frozen at baseline, on and off. For one week;

> The same parameters while applying sensory stimuli: acoustic, for one week, after one month;

> Assessment of quality of life before and after wearing the SAM, with and without automatic application of the sensory cues.



Centro Médico Teknon (coordinator); Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.



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