Laser-based visual cuing for the attenuation of freezing of gait has been the subject of a number of studies over the past number of years. This week researchers at Mayo Clinic have demonstrated some of the work they are carrying out in this area. The team is investigating the use of a laser device called the Mobilaser to help patients overcome freezing of gait episodes. The Mobilaser is essentially a laser pen which can be mounted to any walking roller or cane and projects a laser generated line on the ground in front of the patient, which serves as a visual cue.
Freezing of gait occurs often in Parkinson’s disease and a number of other conditions. As well as being debilitating for the patients, it can also put them at risk of falls. Visual cuing for freezing of gait works on the basis that when a patient’s attention is focused on each step by means of some external cue, freezing of gait may be alleviated. The Mobilaser acts as a type of visual cue, aiming to reduce the duration and number of freezing of gait episodes.The video provides a nice overview of how these visual cuing systems work in practice.
The Mobilaser approach has demonstrated favorable results in pilot tests on a small number of patients and the researchers are currently planning larger scale trials.