University of Twente Student Theses


Vibrating socks as a home-based tactile cueing device in Parkinson’s Disease

Nannings, L.F.J. (2021) Vibrating socks as a home-based tactile cueing device in Parkinson’s Disease.

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Abstract:Introduction: One of the most disabling motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is freezing of gait (FOG). Non-pharmacological treatments, such as external cueing, have gained interest since FOG and posture impairments are usually resistant to pharmacological treatment. However, translating such cueing strategies into an efficient home-based ambulatory device that is socially acceptable (i.e. ’invisible’ to bystanders) remains difficult. The current pilot study focuses on the development of such device and is part of the vibrating socks at home study. Methods: Prototype vibrating socks for providing tactile cues in the home environment were developed, a smartphone application for controlling the socks was developed, and the usability of the prototype (socks and application) was evaluated. For this pilot study (within-subject design), five PD patients (mean [SD] age 61.6 [8.96] years, 80% male) with FOG were included. Measurements while wearing the vibrating socks were conducted for three consecutive weeks ((1) without cueing, (2) with cueing (on demand), (3) follow-up without cueing) at the patients’ home, in which they could perform their normal daily living. Data for acceleration, heart rate, diary and questionnaire results were acquired during these weeks. Usability of the prototype was evaluated by the system usability scale questionnaire. Results: The prototype socks and smartphone application functioned as intended and were successfully used independently by the patients in the home environment. Yet, this pilot study provided some points for improvement of the prototype. Firstly, the socks made a audible sound, therefore not being ’invisible’ for bystanders. Next, some patients experienced the socks as too tight. Lastly, there were false diary entries because of how the application was programmed. The mean usability was 66.5 on a scale of 0–100. Conclusion: The results of this pilot study could be used for improvement of the prototype for the entire vibrating socks at home study. The usability of the current prototype scored above average. This pilot study presented a novel prototype for delivering tactile cues to alleviate FOG in the home environment.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Faculty:TNW: Science and Technology
Subject:44 medicine, 50 technical science in general
Programme:Technical Medicine MSc (60033)
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