Freezing of Gait (FOG) is considered one of the most debilitating symptoms experienced by people with Parkinson’s disease1. It is also one of the leading causes of falls and hospitalizations, with the management of freezing episodes considered to be a significant pain point.
As medication and surgery have not previously been successful in treating these symptoms, more recently, cueing has been studied and has shown immense promise in overcoming episodic freezing episodes.
No motion of the person’s legs is observed2.
The person’s inability to step with their legs trembling.
A spontaneously increasing cadence and a decrease in step length3.
The most common forms experienced is shuffling and the tremble in place. These forms of FOG have been known to be major contributors to falls in people with Parkinson’s. For this reason, this can place an immense strain on carers and increased pressure on the health system due to the rise of hospitalizations4. Additionally, other non-motor effects can be caused by FOG complications, including anxiety, depression, and the overall decrease in a person’s quality of life5.
The treatment of FOG could offer a breakthrough in helping people with Parkinson’s recover their independence, restore their motor ability, and increase confidence. Sensory and auditory cueing could be the key to assisting people from experiencing this debilitating symptom.
Studies conducted as early as 1990 show that visual cueing can help people with Parkinson’s overcome the effects of FOG. Over the years, further research has been demonstrated that cueing can help people with Parkinson’s improve their gait, walking speed, step length, and the number of steps per minute. These studies have also shown strength in reducing the number of freezing episodes.
Cueing works by using physical stimuli to help the brain process time and create spatial awareness; this facilitates the initiation of movement and the continuation of movement. Recently, studies have shown that three different cueing variations can assist the brain in allowing movement. These techniques include visual cueing, auditory cueing, and somatosensory cueing.
NexStride is the first multi-cue daily assist device that attaches to any standard cane, walker, or walking pole. Users can activate the audio cue, visual cue, or both, and adjust to preferred speed and distance.
These visual and audio cues help users re-establish the connection between the brain and the body and allow the user to walk smoothly again.
1. Sweeney D, Quinlan LR, Browne P, Richardson M, Meskell P, ÓLaighin G. A Technological Review of Wearable Cueing Devices Addressing Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease. Sensors (Basel). 2019;19(6):1277. Published 2019 Mar 13. DOI:10.3390/s19061277 • 2. Bloem B.R., Hausdorff J.M., Visser J.E., Giladi N. Falls and freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease: A review of two interconnected, episodic phenomena. Mov. Disord. Off. J. Mov. Disord. Soc. 2004;19:871–884. DOI: 10.1002/mds.20115. • 3. Hausdorff J.M., Balash Y., Giladi N. Time series analysis of leg movements during freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease: Akinesia, rhyme or reason? Phys. A Stat. Mech. Appl. 2003;321:565–570. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4371(02)01744-2. • 4. Paul S.S., Harvey L., Canning C.G., Boufous S., Lord S.R., Close J.C.T., Sherrington C. Fall-related hospitalization in people with Parkinson’s disease. Eur. J. Neurol. 2017;24:523–529. doi: 10.1111/ene.13238 • 5. Ishii M., Okuyama K. Influence of Freezing of Gait on Quality of Life in Patients with Parkinson’s disease. J. Fac. Health Sci. 2018;12:1–10.