Friday January 24, 2020

Smart Garments to Prevent Falls in Parkinson’s Patients

In addition, clinicians can monitor participants' progress remotely and adjust the programme to provide ongoing and personalised continuity of care

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10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

A team of researchers are in the process of developing smart garment technologies that would prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Falls, which are frequently caused by gait impairments and postural instability, are common and often devastating in the lives of people with Parkinson’s – a neurodegenerative disease.

The researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) are set to make StandingTall-PD — a neuro-rehabilitation programme — that aims to prevent freezing-of-gait and falls, and enhance patients’ independence.

The programme uses visual, audio and haptic sensory cues to help rewire the parts of the brain that control walking and preventing falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

The combination of visual, audio and sensory elements helps to form new connections in less affected parts of the brain, leading to improved walking ability, the researchers said.

Now, smart garments to prevent falls in Parkinson’s patients.

“Existing dopamine therapies offer benefit in treating motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s but may not alleviate gait and balance challenges,” said Jamie L. Hamilton, Associate Director at the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) in the US.

“The new programme has the potential to become an affordable option to address gait and balance issues and improve overall quality of life for people with Parkinson’s,” said Hamilton.

For the study, researchers will give participants a mat with colour-coded stepping targets, a pair of Sensoria Smart Socks, an iPad and phone.

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The programme can help enable participants to self-manage and monitor their own progress via an app on their phone. The app can also trigger stimuli during everyday activities, such as vibration in their Smart Socks, if they are in danger of experiencing freezing-of-gait, falls or if they show signs of shuffling feet.

In addition, clinicians can monitor participants’ progress remotely and adjust the programme to provide ongoing and personalised continuity of care. (IANS)

Next Story

Know the Difference between Parkinson’s Disease and Bipolar Disorder

Is there any relationship between Parkinson's disease and Bipolar disorder?

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disorder disease
Parkinsons disease is caused by low levels of a neuro-transmitter called dopamine in the brain, bipolar disorder is due to high levels of the same neurotransmitter. Lifetime Stock

Parkinsons disease and bipolar disorders are two ends of the same spectrum. Whereas, Parkinsons disease (PD) is caused by low levels of a neuro-transmitter called dopamine in the brain, bipolar disorder (BD) is due to high levels of the same neurotransmitter.

IANSlife spoke with Dr Madhuri Behari, Professor & Head, Department of Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, to find out what the relationship between the two is.

Dr Behari explains that Dopamine is essential for refined motor activities and all symptoms of Parkinson’s disease like tremour, slowness of actions, stiffness of muscles and postural stability are due to decreased levels of dopamine. Dopamine is also known as the happiness hormone and its decreased levels result in depression.

On the other hand, high levels of Dopamine causes symptoms of bipolar state such as manic behaviour (over-activity, not able to sleep, talkativeness, unnecessarily happy, suspicious behaviour, thinking that everyone is talking about them etc.), hallucination and other symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder
Dopamine causes symptoms of bipolar disorder such as manic behaviour. Lifetime Stock

In India, there is very low awareness about these diseases and because of that there are lots of misunderstandings. The time patient reaches a neurologist the golden time is lost and in most of the cases we become helpless. While Parkinson’s disease is disease of elderly, Bipolar disorder usually occurs in young people. Since, the urban elderly population is living alone, it becomes difficult to track their behaviour for early symptoms of PD or bipolar symptoms due to side effects of high doses of levodopa (medicine given for PD).

It is also noted that in later stages of PD, when the dose of Levodopa or other drugs given to treat PD in high doses as per need of patient, some susceptible people develop mania,

hallucination and psychosis which can be treated by decreasing the dose of medicines and in some cases by doing deep brain stimulation operation. Whereas bipolar disorder can be treated by medicines only. It is highly recommended that we must pay close attention to elderly people to note occurrence of early symptoms of PD or bipolar symptoms.

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Our mind is a machine which realizes that after 40 years of age there is nothing to learn and became stagnant. Constant absence of new learning may lead reduction in levels of certain neurotransmitters, hence it is recommended that we must start learning new brain activities after 40 years of age like learning new language, new hobby etc. to prevent loss of brain functioning or development of memory loss or dementia.

Brain is the most important part of our body which is complex and needs constant activation. While we can exercise our arms, legs, body or neck; similarly brain also needs regular exercise. (IANS)

2 responses to “Know the Difference between Parkinson’s Disease and Bipolar Disorder”

  1. I am 65 years old, I was diagnosed of Parkinson’s disease at the age of 59. I had severe calf pain, muscle pain, slurred speech, frequent falls, loss of balance, difficulty getting up from sitting position. i was on Carbidopa and Pramipexole for two years, as the disease progressed my symptoms worsened, with my neurologist guidance i started on natural PARKINSON’S DISEASE TREATMENT from Rich Herbal garden (ww w. richherbalgardens. c o m). The treatment worked very effectively for my Parkinson’s, most of my severe symptoms simply vanished within the first 3 months on the treatment, i feel better now than I have felt in years and i can feel my strength again. My neurologist was very open when looking at alternative medicines and procedures, this alternative Parkinson’s disease treatment is indeed a breakthrough.

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