Scientists Identify 'Freezing Of Gait' Phenomenon to Help Parkinson's Disease Patients

Scientists Identify 'Freezing Of Gait' Phenomenon to Help Parkinson's Disease PatientsIn a new study at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney, it has been discovered a new phenomenon known as 'freezing of gait' (FOG) to help the Parkinson's disease patients who experience problems in walking.

Dr. Simon Lewis, Director of the BMRI PD Research Clinic, said that the FOG involves the use of a magnetic resonance (MR) scanner to create a realistic virtual reality (VR) environment with a series of corridors and doorways. This environment will navigate the patients using foot pedals. The BMRI team has developed the VR environment in association with Southern Radiology.

The Clinical Director of MRI at BMRI, Dr. Lynette Masters has revealed that diseases of the brain and mind such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, substance abuse and clinical depression can lead to a number of health complications. The MRI scan involved in the FOG phenomenon uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce high quality two- or three-dimensional images of brain structures without the use of ionizing radiation or radioactive tracers.

Recent figures have revealed that Parkinson's disease affects 80,000 Australians every year and costs more than $6 billion to the economy.