Freezing of gait (FOG) or a sudden, brief inability to start or maintain normal stepping movements, is a common symptom seen in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). FOG can affect about 32% of PD patients and tends to be resistant to Parkinson’s medications. This freezing symptom can lead to falls and affect quality of life.
A research study written in 2011 has looked at assessing the effectiveness of Laserlight visual cues on reducing the FOG in those with PD. There is limited research that has been carried out on the use of laserlights as visual cues. This study only included 26 patients with PD who had the tendency to freeze. A U-step walker or cane was used that has an attached laser light to provide a visual cue for stepping. This was compared to mobility and falls recorded in a baseline period prior to the trial with the U-step aid, and then post the trial. The laserlight was used for a period of one month.
The results of the study showed that Laserlight visual cues are a strategy for overcoming FOG and reducing falls in PD patients. Laserlight visual cues may help patients overcome FOG episodes more quickly and reduce the frequency of freezing.
Due to the small study population and lack of other current researchon this subject, it needs to be understood that laserlight visual cues should be considered as a potential therapy strategy, and is not to be seen as a cure for FOG in PD. Additional studies need to be conducted to further evaluate the effectiveness of laserlight cues for FOG in PD.
For further information, you can refer to the research study by Donovan et al (2011), Laserlight visual cues for Gait Freezing in Parkinson’s Disease.