WINNER OF THE 7th WFNR FRANZ GERSTENBRAND AWARD
The winning entry is a new device to aid the ‘freezing of gait (FOG)’, an abnormal gait pattern that can accompany Parkinson’s disease (PD) as well as other parkinsonian disorders.
Peeraya Ruthiraphong, a physiatrist specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and her team working in the Department of Rehabilitation, Ramathibodi Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand developed an ankle bracelet-laser as a closed loop visual cue device. This lightweight, easy-to use device is a smart motion sensor integrated with IoT technology and provides the visible line corresponding with walking motion. The randomised crossover study involved 10 participants with an average age of 69 years. The study compared walk with, and walk without the device in gait speed, stride length and the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. The results showed significant difference in all parameters. The device proved to be an effective tool for improving TUG, suggesting improved balance and reduced
risk of falls.
Dr Ruthiraphong said: “Our team is delighted to win the Award. FOG is a major cause of disability in people with Parkinson’s disease and impairs their quality of life. Our device can help these people to walk better and we will be using the prize to further our research”.
Professor David Good, WFNR President said: “Peeraya is a deserving winner of the 2020 WFNR Franz Gerstenbrand Award; this is a useful device that will help individuals with Parkinson’s disease”.