L43 — October 2011 — Mobilaser
Intro: Imagine not being able to walk across the room because your muscles don't work normally. That's what life is like for many people with Parkinson's disease and similar disorders. The conditions cause your muscles to shake and freeze up until putting one foot in front of the other is almost impossible. Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a new device that's part of a clinical trial. It's giving some patients the ability to walk again.
For parkinsonism patient Wayne Puckett, walking is an intense challenge.
Just going from one room to another, sometimes the frustration level can be at a screaming point.
The neurologic condition causes his muscles to shake and freeze, especially when he tries to pass through a doorway.
It takes so long to move.
But a device that will be part of a clinical trial and that was developed at Mayo Clinic by neurologist Dr. Jay Arthur Van Gerpen.
That line is your target.
is giving Wayne his mobility back.
This is more like what walking is supposed to be like. (laughing)
This simple device, a laser attached to a walker, is called the Mobilaser.
The mobilaser is a device which can be attached to any rolling walker or any cane, for that matter, that provides a visual cue for patients who have gait difficulties, namely, difficulties with gait freezing and/or severe stride reduction.
How did I do that? And he told me he got my brain to work in a different way.
I worked with an engineering colleague who helped me develop this device to transmit a laser-generated line which serves as a visual cue.
Here's the theory behind how a visual cue improves gait.
Voluntary movement such as walking starts in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia. When you want to move your foot, the impulse starts there and follows a pathway to the primary cortex, through the spinal cord, to peripheral nerves and finally to the muscles in the foot. With Parkinson's disease and similar disorders, the basal ganglia doesn't work well. The impulse to move travels the same way, but much more slowly, sort of like a traffic jam. The mobilaser helps by prompting a visual cue that reroutes the pathway around the jam, allowing more fluid movement.
It empowers patients, gives them much more self-confidence.
It takes me forever to walk across a room. And with that, it's almost like I can walk normally again.
You saw. I can just walk right through it.
Dr. Van Gerpen's first study on the mobilaser showed every patient enrolled improved.
It was a small study, but every single patient did better.
With the start of the new study, Dr. Van Gerpen and his team anticipate positive results. The ability to walk again. To feel normal again after years of struggling.
You turn on a little red light and all of a sudden, it's like you can almost walk like you were before.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
The Mobilaser may not be right for every patient. But Wayne has been using it for a year. And he says for him, the Mobilaser means better mobility, and a better life.
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Mayo Clinic and Dr. Van Gerpen have a financial interest in the technology referenced in this presentation. This technology has been licensed to a commercial entity, and Mayo Clinic and Dr. Van Gerpen will receive royalties from the sale of this technology.