Evaluation of a New Device to Prevent Falls in Persons With Parkinson's DiseaseBy Bryant, Mon S.; Rintala, Diana H.; Lai, Eugene C.; Raines, Mary L.; Protas, Elizabeth J.; Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, Vol. 4, No. 5, pp. 357-363
Publication Date: September 2009
Study explored the effect of a new walking aid, the WalkAbout, regarding its effect on gait patterns, energy costs, and ease of use in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) as compared to their usual walk. The WalkAbout, a wide-based walking device made of carbon steel that completely encircles the user, features four caster wheels and a waist-high top rail. Front wheel brakes offer stability while entering, and exiting the WalkAbout, and a safety belt prevents the user from falling. For the study, 15 participants with PD and a mean age of 75 years walked in their usual fashion and then walked again in the WalkAbout while gait parameters, 5-minute walk, and oxygen consumption were recorded. The characteristics and gait patterns of 8 participants who showed benefit from using the WalkAbout, identified as responders, were compared to those of the remaining participants who did not show benefit from the walking aid (non-responders). Results revealed that stride lengths were shorter when using the WalkAbout. On an average, the distance walked in 5 minutes and the oxygen uptake were not different when walking with the walking aid compared with the usual walk. Responders were found to walk further with the WalkAbout compared to their usual walk, while non-responders walked a shorter distance with the walking aid. Compared to non-responders, responders were older, had more severe disability, and were more likely to use an assistive device for walking. The authors conclude that the WalkAbout may help persons with PD who have more severe disability to walk further.
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Limited (Website:http://taylorandfrancis.org)
International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Web Site: http://www.isprm.org )