Parkinson’s disease (PD) currently affects over 10 million people worldwide, and 200,000 Australians live with the disease, while another 38 are diagnosed every day.
70 per cent of PD patients also deal with unstable gait and falls, which for many contributes to loss of confidence, social isolation, fractures and increased hospital admissions.
Treadmill training has demonstrated significant benefits in improving gaits and reducing falls, which can be enhanced by using mechanical or virtual-reality triggered gait adaptations at the same time. Unfortunately, the underlying mechanisms responsible remain poorly understood, which can result in suboptimum care.
Shake It Up Australia is proud to be an associate partner and a key stakeholder to the 2023 NHMRC-EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research, titled “Taking steps against the burden of Parkinson’s disease”. The research program, which aims to improve fall prevention in people with Parkinson’s disease, will study the biomechanical, physiological, and neural changes that underly intervention success.
Dr Matthew Brodie, Senior Lecturer Health Informatics and Biosignal Processing at the University of New South Wales, says:
“Treadmill training is a great form of exercise for people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease that can be completed in the comfort of the home environment. However, little is known about the underlying neurophysiological and psychosocial mechanisms responsible and why some people may respond better to training than others. This project seeks to develop enhanced treadmill training protocols targeting gait impairment in people living with Parkinson’s disease through the concurrent use of mechanical or virtual-reality triggered gait adaptations.