Effects of Gait Inducing Assist for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease on Double Support Phase During Gait
Ai Higuchi*1, Junichiro Shiraishi*2, Yuichi Kurita*3,*4, and Tomohiro Shibata*1
*1Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology
2-4 Hibikino, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 808-0196, Japan
*2University of Occupational and Environmental Health
1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 807-8555, Japan
*3Graduate School of Engineering, Hiroshima University
1-4-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8527, Japan
7 Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076, Japan
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects a wide range of motor and non-motor symptoms. Freezing of gait (FOG) is such a motor symptom of PD that frequently results in falling, and almost half of PD patients suffer from FOG. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of a robotic assistance system called UPS-PD, which was developed to suppress FOG. The double limb support phase (DLS) in a 10-m straight-line walking task, the gait time and step counts were measured in five PD subjects. In addition, the safety of the UPS-PD in a healthy person was investigated using OpenSim, and the DLS parameters in four healthy elderly subjects were evaluated. In the experiment with the PD patients, the DLS parameters of two subjects showed an improvement. Furthermore, the step length of one subject and the step length and walking speed of the other subject were improved. Moreover, there were no problems in terms of instability of gait in both the PD patients. The UPS-PD did not adversely affect the gait of healthy elderly subjects and the walking of a healthy subject model in the simulation. Therefore, the UPS-PD is considered to be a useful device for improving walking in PD patients.
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