Freezing of gait – the feeling of one’s feet being stuck to the floor – is one of our most disabling symptoms and it often defies drug and surgical treatments. People with Parkinson’s therefore need effective approaches to physical therapy and self-management of freezing symptoms. It is usually abbreviated to FOG but has nothing to do with brain fog!
The study utilises a combination of motion, recording and wearable technologies to explore with a high degree of accuracy how people are able to move themselves through a computer-generated model of a built environment – for example a domestic home setting – that is being displayed on their virtual reality headset. As and when freezing episodes occur, different strategies for resolving the situation can be explored in complete safety.
What does it involve?
This video explaining the project is an excellent overview of what is involved, the Exeter University laboratory where this study will take place, how to get there and how participants will be looked after, particularly in respect of Covid-19.
The objective of the project as a whole is to develop a range of validated, reliable techniques to overcome FOG and start or continue moving without hesitation.
The project will compare the behaviour of people with Parkinson’s and FOG with people with Parkinson’s without FOG and against a control group of people without Parkinson’s and so this is an invitation to participate aimed at all three groups.
The technology is provided by VSimulators, a unique facility for the research of human movement in the built environment.