Staying UpRight in Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study of a novel wearable postural intervention

Samuel Stuart*, Alan Godfrey, Martina Mancini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives
This interventional pilot study aimed to 1) examine whether a novel wearable vibro-tactile feedback device (‘UpRight Go’) is effective and feasible to improve postural alignment in Parkinson’s disease (PD); 2) explore relationships between postural alignment and attention in PD; 3) explore effect of vibro-tactile device on balance and gait; and 4) gain initial feedback on the use of the vibro-tactile device in the laboratory and at home.

Methods
25 people with PD sat, stood and walked for two-minutes without and with the UpRight device attached to their upper backs to provide feedback on postural alignment in the laboratory. A sub-group (n = 12) wore the UpRight device at home for 60 min. per day for 7-days of postural feedback. Subjective feedback on use of the device was obtained in the laboratory and at the end of the 7-day period.

The primary outcome for this study was posture measured by verticality of inertial measurement units (IMUs) at the neck, trunk and low back, which was done with and without the UpRight device. Secondary outcomes included clinical measures of posture, subjective feedback on the device, computerized attention measures, gait and balance.

Results
Neck postural alignment in PD was significantly improved (reduced neck flexion) with the UpRight during sitting and standing in both clinical measures (p = 0.005) and IMU outcomes (p = 0.046), but trunk and low back posture did not change. There was no change in postural alignment during walking with the UpRight. Postural alignment response was related to attentional capabilities. Many subjects (68 %) reported that they felt a benefit from the UpRight and most participants reported that the device was acceptable (Lab use; 72 %, Home use; 75 %).

Conclusion
The UpRight Go feedback device may improve neck/upper-back posture in PD during sitting and standing, but not during walking. Postural alignment response to the device may depend on attentional mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalGait and Posture
Volume91
Early online date1 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Oct 2021

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