14th International Congress
14th international congress

News Release

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Laur, +1 414-276-2145, elaur@movementdisorders.org
MDS Press Room: Rio de la Plata Room, 2nd Floor, Sheraton Buenos Aires
(Abstract: 361)

Study Shows Virtual Reality to be Helpful with Improving Gait
and Reducing Falls in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

BUENOS AIRES – A study evaluating the feasibility of using virtual reality to improve gait and reduce falls in Parkinson’s disease patients was presented today at The Movement Disorder Society’s 14th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders.

This study, led by Anat Mirelman, PhD, and colleagues at Sourasky Medical Center, in Tel Aviv, Israel, found that Virtual Reality treadmill training improved gait and obstacle navigation in patients with PD, while also reducing the incidence of reported falls and near falls at least one month after treatment.

Twenty PD patients received 18 training sessions consisting of walking on a treadmill with virtual obstacles projected on a wall. All patients completed the training with no adverse responses and demonstrated overall improvement in parkinsonian symptoms and dynamic stability. The physical benefits of this training and reduction in incidence of falls transfer into everyday walking and maneuvering in the home setting.

Dr. Simon J.G. Lewis, of Royal Prince Albert Hospital in Sydney, Australia, states “The concept of using Virtual Reality (VR) in a relatively safe environment to help with these symptoms represents a novel approach that potentially offers major benefits. Being a non-pharmacological approach, VR training is not complicated by drug interactions or side effects and it is likely that it could be adapted for use in the home environment in future.”

Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options for Movement Disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington's disease, tremor, gait and dystonia. More than 3,500 physicians and medical professionals from 70 countries will be able to view over 1,000 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

The Movement Disorder Society, an international society of over 3,500 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals from more than 90 countries, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about The Movement Disorder Society, visit www.movementdisorders.org.