Freezing of gait (FoG) episodes are associated with increased risk of falling and injuries in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Turning is an important component of functional mobility and can induce FoG episodes. Patients with PD demonstrate impaired performance during turning when compared to older adults. Tactile cues (closed-loop) have been shown to ameliorate turning performance in PD. However, the underlying neural mechanisms are unclear. This project aims to examine the effects of closed-loop cueing on prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity while turning in place at 360 degrees in patients with (FoG+) and without FoG (FoG-). This project involves data already collected as part of other studies. Twenty-five patients with PD (13 FoG+ and 12 FoG-) participated in this study. Participants were asked to perform a 2-min turning-in-place task at self-selected pace. The test involved 20 s of quiet standing at the beginning and at the end of the task, in which participants were asked to stand still and look forward. The 80-s turning-in-place portion consisted of alternating 360° turns to the right and left under two conditions: with and without closed-loop cueing (vibration activated during the leg-stance phase and deactivated during the swing phase). Vibrotactile device was positioned on feet and the vibrating tactor on participants wrist. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and eight inertial measurement units (located at the sternum and pelvis levels, on the wrists, shanks, and feet of participants) were collected and will be used to analyze PFC activity and turning performance, respectively. Data will be analyzed through Matlab and Restricted Maximum Likelihood Estimation will be performed for statistics.
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