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Funded Studies

DeFOG: Digital wearable walking aid for freezing of gait

Study Rationale:
Freezing of gait impairs the function and independence of many people with Parkinson's disease and often does not respond to conventional therapies. Previous research demonstrated that external pacing, cues and feedback can reduce freezing of gait. DeFOG is a smartphone-based wearable system that delivers personalized cueing to treat freezing of gait. In this study, we will systematically evaluated its potential when used at home and during every day walking over an extended period of time.

We hypothesize that continued use of the DeFOG intelligent cueing wearable system over a one month period will reduce freezing of gait and its negative impact on function.

Study Design:
People with Parkinson's disease who also suffer from freezing of gait will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group will receive the intervention. They will be encouraged to use the DeFOG system whenever they walk in their home and community. The other group will receive the same device; it will provide feedback on their activity levels but without the DeFOG function. We will assess all subjects before and after the one-month intervention.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
The results of this study will bring a therapeutic solution for freezing of gait closer to routine everyday use.

Next Steps for Development:
If the results of the study suggest that intelligent cueing reduces freezing of gait, the DeFOG system could be made available in its current form. Further optimization and additional questions (e.g., longer-term effects) should, however, be addressed in follow-up studies.


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