Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Walking to the beat could help patients with Parkinson's disease

Date:
September 20, 2012
Source:
University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Walking to a beat could be useful for patients needing rehabilitation, according to a new study. The findings demonstrate that researchers should further investigate the potential of auditory, visual, and tactile cues in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from illnesses like Parkinson's disease -- a brain disorder leading to shaking (tremors) and difficulty walking.

Walking to a beat could be useful for patients needing rehabilitation, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. The findings, highlighted in the August issue of PLOS ONE, demonstrate that researchers should further investigate the potential of auditory, visual, and tactile cues in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from illnesses like Parkinson's Disease -- a brain disorder leading to shaking (tremors) and difficulty walking.

Related Articles


Together with a team of collaborators from abroad, Ervin Sejdic, an assistant professor of engineering in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, studied the effects of various metronomic stimuli (a mechanically produced beat) on fifteen healthy adults, ages 18 to 30. Walkers participated in two sessions consisting of five 15-minute trials in which the participants walked with different cues.

In the first, participants walked at their preferred walking speed. Then, in subsequent trials, participants were asked to walk to a metronomic beat, produced by way of visuals, sound, or touch. Finally, participants were asked to walk with all three cues simultaneously, the pace of which was set to that of the first trial.

"We found that the auditory cue had the greatest influence on human gait, while the visual cues had no significant effect whatsoever," said Sejdic. "This finding could be particularly helpful for patients with Parkinson's Disease, for example, as auditory cues work very well in their rehabilitation."

Sejdic said that with illnesses like Parkinson's Disease, a big question is whether researchers can better understand the changes that come with this deterioration. Through their study, the Pitt team feels that visual cues could be considered as an alternative modality in rehabilitation and should be further explored in the laboratory.

"Oftentimes, a patient with Parkinson's Disease comes in for an exam, completes a gait assessment in the laboratory, and everything is great," said Sejdic. "But then, the person leaves and falls down. Why? Because a laboratory is a strictly controlled environment. It's flat, has few obstacles, and there aren't any cues (like sound) around us. When we're walking around our neighborhoods, however, there are sidewalks, as well as streetlights and people honking car horns: you have to process all of this information together. We are trying to create that real-life space in the laboratory."

In the future, Sejdic and his team would like to conduct similar walking trials with patients with Parkinson's Disease, to observe whether their gait is more or less stable.

"Can we see the same trends that we observed in healthy people?" he said. "And, if we observe the same trends, then that would have direct connotations to rehabilitation processes."

Additionally, his team plans to explore the impact of music on runners and walkers.

Funding for this project was provided, in part, by the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Toronto, and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ervin Sejdić, Yingying Fu, Alison Pak, Jillian A. Fairley, Tom Chau. The Effects of Rhythmic Sensory Cues on the Temporal Dynamics of Human Gait. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (8): e43104 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043104

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh. "Walking to the beat could help patients with Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920140205.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh. (2012, September 20). Walking to the beat could help patients with Parkinson's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920140205.htm
University of Pittsburgh. "Walking to the beat could help patients with Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920140205.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Group Encourages Black Moms to Breastfeed

Group Encourages Black Moms to Breastfeed

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) A grassroots effort is underway in several US cities to encourage more black women to breastfeed their babies by teaching them the benefits of the age-old practice, which is sometimes shunned in African-American communities. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Harvard researchers found that girls who consumed more than 1.5 sugary drinks a day had their first period earlier than those who drank less. Video provided by Newsy
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