In a nutshell
This study investigated the effects of automated peripheral stimulation (APS) in the treatment of gait disorders in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers suggested that APS treatment is associated with improved gait in these patients.
Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) usually show symptoms associated with body movements and function such as tremors, impaired gait, and balance. This is caused by the loss of certain brain cells. The standard treatment often causes side effects after a long-term use. These affect the treatment itself and the quality of life of the patients.
To overcome this, new therapies are necessary to treat the various symptoms. APS (application of pressure in specific areas of the feet using a medical device called Gondola). Prior studies showed that APS is associated with improved gait outcomes such as improved hip movement range. However, it is still not clear how APS can affect the gait of these patients when walking and/or doing other tasks.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 30 patients with impaired gait. They were randomized to receive APS (15) or a placebo (15). Both groups received 2 treatment sessions a week for 4 weeks. APS was applied on 4 areas of the feet using the Gondola device.
Gait ability was measured before, and after the first, fourth and eighth treatment sessions. This was evaluated while just walking and while walking and performing another task.
At each treatment session, the patients in the APS group increased gradually their step length and speed, while the placebo group did not. After 8 sessions, APS improved gait both while walking and performing another task as compared to both the beginning of the study and the placebo group.
The bottom line
This study showed that APS is an effective therapy for patients with Parkinson's disease with impaired gait.
The fine print
This study did not follow up patients after the treatment. Also, the number of participants was quite small.
Published By :
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Dec 01, 2018
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