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University’s Ingenious Idea Could Help Manage Parkinson’s Disease

Technology has finally come to the rescue of Parkinson’s patients with the laser shoes, the shoes have been equipped with small laser emitters that enable those affected by Parkinson’s disease to walk in a normal way.

One of the severe symptoms of Parkinson’s is gait freezing which causes the patient incapable of making the next step while walking and losing balance and even falling. Gait freezing can last minutes and is most likely activated by the stress of an unfamiliar environment and often occurs when the medication wears off. During a freeze, the patient might break out of it just by concentrating on something close to their feet moving their foot towards it or stepping over it.

But what if there is nothing available on demand for patients to move their feet towards or step over? This is the question that led to the wonderful idea behind the laser shoes.Each shoe has a laser projection device that is mounted on the toe and it creates a line that appears at about 18 inches ahead on the floor based on the pace of the patient’s footsteps and therefore, triggers the patient to walk by stepping towards the line. While in motion, the laser projection turns off allowing the other shoe to project the line.

According to a research by the University of Twente and Radboud University Medical Center, Laser shoes have profited the users in significant ways, with the research findings published on December 20th, 2017 in the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Based on the same research, laser shoes have reduced cases of gait freezing as well as cut the duration of those freezes by nearly half.

Parkinson’s is the second most common movement disorder that is described by the continuous loss of muscle control that causes limb and head trembling while at rest, slowness, stiffness as well as loss of balance. As it’s symptoms deteriorate, it can even become difficult to complete simple tasks, such as talking and even walking.

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