Recently a clinical study on fall prevention led by the University of Limerick was approved, and now they’re starting to recruit Parkinson’s participants.
Risk of falling in Parkinson’s Disease
Fall risk is a known issue for people with Parkinson’s disease.
A study documented that 38 to 87% of parkinsonian patients experienced falls. Furthermore, Parkinsonian has a higher risk of falling than their peers, 19% more.Parkinson’s motor symptoms induce a higher risk indeed.
As a matter of fact, some of these symptoms could lead to worse balance, increasing the possibility of falling.
- the slowness of movement;
- festination (involuntary gait with shortened stride length and progressively more rapid steps)
- motor blocks
- freezing of gait
Freezing of Gait increases the falling risk
In particular, the FOG is a serious risk factor for falls because people experiencing Freezing risk falls more than those who don’t report this symptom.
A study indeed documented that Freezers fall more frequently than non-freezers. Their fall frequency is almost two and half times that of the non-freezers (57.7% vs. 23.6%).
This higher risk leads to a decrease in the patient’s independence and, consequently, their quality of life.
Fall prevention study
There are many fall prevention programs, but the studies investigating their effectiveness don’t use the same outcomes. For this reason, it’s not possible to compare or combine their results.
Using the same outcomes during the studies would help develop more effective prevention programs.
In this context, Nicola O’Malley, a Ph.D. student at the University of Limerick, decided to start this study on fall prevention to find a core outcome set. Dr. Amanda Clifford and Prof Susan Coote at the University of Limerick will supervise her work.The study was approved in May 2022, and now they’re starting to recruit Parkinson’s participants worldwide.
The study consists of a maximum of three rounds, where the patient will have to fill out a 15-minute questionnaire per round.If you want to participate in the online survey, read the PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET.
Gondola AMPS therapy can reduce the risk of falling
Concerning fall prevention, non-invasive therapeutic options such as Gondola Automated Mechanical Peripheral Stimulation (AMPS Therapy) can help prevent falls induced by walking impairments.
Thanks to Gondola AMPS therapy, the functional connectivity between motor control areas of the brain responsible for walking and balance is enhanced, inducing a walking improvement and thus reducing the incidence of falling.
Some studies also documented how, in the long term, Gondola AMPS could restore the rhythmicity of gait and reduce the risk of falling.