Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicists Use Fractals To Help Parkinson's Sufferers

Date:
February 4, 2004
Source:
Institute Of Physics
Summary:
A new portable system for analyzing the walking patterns of people with Parkinson's 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.

A new portable system for analyzing the walking patterns of people with Parkinson's 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.

Parkinson's 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 patient's quality of life, by guiding their treatment more effectively, and so reduce side-effects.

Researchers have previously tried to quantify the problems suffered by Parkinson's patients by studying their gait. Now, Masaki Sekine, Metin Akay, and Toshiyo Tamura, of the Department of Gerontechnology, National Institute for Longevity Sciences, in Aichi, Japan and Thayer School of Engineering, New Hampshire USA, working with their colleagues at the Fujimoto Hayasuzu Hospital, in Miy azaki, Japan, have devised a portable system based on a sensor placed on the patient's body that measures movements in three dimensions. The readings from this sensor, known as a tri-axial accelerometer, are fed to a computer, together with measurements of the patients walking speed, and analysed using a fractal system.

Fractals are usually associated with irregular geometric objects that look the same no matter what scale they are viewed at: clouds, branching trees, rugged coastlines, rocky mountains, are all examples of fractals. The idea of a fractal can also be applied to irregular motion. For instance, a healthy heartbeat is now known not be so regular as we might think and follows a fractal pattern of movement instead. Scientists have suggested that fractals might also be used to model the irregular walking pattern of people with Parkinson's disease.

The researchers used the fractal analysis to break down the body motion of healthy elderly subjects and patients with Parkinson's disease into simpler component parts. The aim being to reveal the differences in irregularity and complexity of the way individuals in each group walk. The computer analysis of the data revealed the complexity, as determined by a fractal measure, of the walking patterns of each group. The fractal measure falls between 1 and 2, and the higher the fractal measure (close to 2) the more complex the body motion, or the lower the fractal measure (close to 1) the less complex the body motion.

The authors say that the fractal measure for Parkinson's disease patients is about 1.48, or higher than that of healthy elderly subjects, whereas the healthy elderly subjects have a fractal measure nearer 1.3.

This confirms the fractal nature of the gait in Parkinson's patients, says the team, and provides them with a quantitative means to measure the severity of walking symptoms.

The Journal of Neural Engineering was launched by the Institute of Physics this week and can be viewed online at: http://jne.iop.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute Of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute Of Physics. "Physicists Use Fractals To Help Parkinson's Sufferers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040203232954.htm>.
Institute Of Physics. (2004, February 4). Physicists Use Fractals To Help Parkinson's Sufferers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040203232954.htm
Institute Of Physics. "Physicists Use Fractals To Help Parkinson's Sufferers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/02/040203232954.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins