A new portable system for analyzing the walking patterns of people with Parkinsons disease has been developed by researchers in the US and Japan. The system, described in the Institute of Physics publication Journal of Neural Engineering, will help doctors monitor the progress of the disease in patients and so tailor their therapy and drug regime more accurately than previously possible.
Parkinsons disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. Its symptoms include: uncontrollable trembling, difficulty walking, and postural problems that often lead to falls. These symptoms are usually controlled with dopamine agonist drugs. However, these can have a number of side-effects, such as jerking movements. It is also known that the body builds up a tolerance to the drug.
Understanding the nature and severity of symptoms for individual patients, which is reflected in their walking pattern, could help doctors improve a patients quality of life, by guiding their treatment more effectively, and so reduce side-effects.
David Reid | EurekAlert!
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