The Effect of Eye-Movement Training on Gait and Activities of Daily Living in Patients with Parkinson’s: A Pilot Study

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Moulton, Elizabeth
Pilot Study , Parkinson's Disease
Medication and surgery, the traditional treatments for Parkinson’s disease, can have serious side effects for Parkinson’s patients. Nurses need low-risk and effective treatments for their patients. Some of the brain areas associated with bradykinesia, one of Parkinson’s diseases cardinal symptoms, can be trained using cognitive-training programs. The objective of this study was to test the effect of anti-saccade eye-movement training on bradykinesia and the ability to perform the activities of daily living in participants with Parkinson’s disease. Anti-sacccade eye-movement training asks participants to ignore a stimuli and look in the opposite direction, which trains their ability to exert control over their own movements. A convenience sample of participants with Parkinson’s disease (N = 10) was recruited for this study. Over the span of 12 days, participants conducted a baseline data collection, which measured demographics; ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) and gait; used an eye-movement training program for 10 consecutive days; and then returned for a second data collection, which measured ADLs and gait. The results of the study include detailed notes on barriers to adherance, such as understanding the program, using the tablet and finding time to train; changes that had to be made to scheduling; and difficulties with collecting motion-capture data from this population. The ADLs questionnaires had perfect scores pre- and post-intervention for all except one participant, and the change in gait speed was not significant. Anti-saccade eye-movement training is a feasible intervention for this population given enough teaching and support. There was no significant change in walking speed or ADLs. The program requires modifications in order to increase the effect. This may include adaptive programming, improved feedback and more adaptive technologies. Also, using a more sensitive measure of ADLs may be beneficial and should be considered for future studies.
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