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Visual Cues that Improve Walking for People with Movement Disorders - Study Shows Small Change in Arrangement Can Make a Big Difference in Improvement Gained
Date:2/24/2010

It is well known that certain visual cues in the walking path can improve walking for movement disorder patients. A study performed with an augmented reality device is the first to look at the significance of the visual cue chosen.

Haifa, Israel (PRWEB) FEB 24, 2010 -- Visual feedback has been found in numerous studies to improve the walking abilities of patients with Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy and Senile Gait.

While early studies used equally spaced transverse lines drawn on the ground, later reports noted that other visual patterns, such as a checkerboard-like tile arrangement, also bring improvements.

Several studies, published in leading medical journals, such as Neurology, Journal of the Neurological Sciences and Journal of the American Geriatric Society, showed that use of a virtual reality device, the GaitAid displaying earth-stationary, checkerboard-like tiles, results in significantly improved walking abilities for movement disorder patients. The acquired benefits were shown to last well beyond the use of the device.

A recent study, presented at the 2009 European Neurological Society by Prof. Yoram Baram from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and accepted for publication by a leading medical journal, was the first to look at the significance of the particular visual pattern used.

Prof. Baram notes, "It is well accepted that visual cues which help the brain organize depth perception of the walking path, i.e. transverse lines segmenting the path, can provide immediate and even lasting improvement in walking for movement disorder patients.

The significance of the particular visual pattern used has remained an open question.
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