Your body’s ability to move is dictated by your brain. The brain formulates the signal to begin walking, or move your arm, and then sends that signal down a neural pathway, through your nervous system, to the part of your body that your brain is instructing to move.

Normally, the body receives that signal and responds with the movement you want. The brain chooses the neural pathway it needs to send the message further down the body, and it just happens. You don’t have to consciously tell your body to start walking, or think about it at all — it’s automatic.

If your brain experiences some damage in critical areas, those automatic signals can have difficulty getting through.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) occurs when the area of the brain responsible for transmitting movement-related messages begins to fail, resulting in a slow degeneration of the neural pathways that the brainwaves rely on to communicate with the body.

When the cells in this important part of the brain stop working, they stop producing dopamine, which is the chemical those messages rely on to be able to reach the body for movement and coordination.

As the level of dopamine drops to where the brain no longer has enough of this chemical to consistently connect with the body, movement and coordination progressively become affected — especially smooth and automatic movement that you’ve taken for granted. These symptoms gradually worsen over time, though the symptoms themselves, and the speed of progression, vary widely from person to person.

Parkinson’s primarily affects movement, but can also cause some cognitive changes, and impact emotions. It can become more difficult to focus on more than one thing at a time, and the process of thinking may become slower. People frequently report feelings of apathy, depression and anxiety.

PD can make movement more difficult, to the extent that it significantly increases the risk of falls, 1, 2, 3 however activity itself is vital to managing the condition. In fact, exercise has been shown to slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease 37, so finding ways to remain as active as possible, exercising regularly, is incredibly important.

Learn more about Parkinson’s Disease

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

How does PD affect movement?

Elderly Man with Walking Device

NexStride: A Moving Story

Sidney Collin, inspired by her meeting with Jack Brill, sought to change how people with Parkinson’s Disease move. By incorporating leading research into a mobility device to help with the symptoms of Parkinsonian gait or Freezing of gait, NexStride was born.

Cueing In NexStride

nextstride laser feature

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.

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