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Open Access Study protocol

A randomised controlled trial evaluating the effect of an individual auditory cueing device on freezing and gait speed in people with Parkinson's disease

Sean Ledger, Rose Galvin, Deirdre Lynch and Emma K Stokes*

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

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BMC Neurology 2008, 8:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-46

Published: 11 December 2008

Abstract

Background

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from a degeneration of dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra. Clinical symptoms typically affect gait pattern and motor performance. Evidence suggests that the use of individual auditory cueing devices may be used effectively for the management of gait and freezing in people with Parkinson's disease. The primary aim of the randomised controlled trial is to evaluate the effect of an individual auditory cueing device on freezing and gait speed in people with Parkinson's disease.

Methods

A prospective multi-centre randomised cross over design trial will be conducted. Forty-seven subjects will be randomised into either Group A or Group B, each with a control and intervention phase. Baseline measurements will be recorded using the Freezing of Gait Questionnaire as the primary outcome measure and 3 secondary outcome measures, the 10 m Walk Test, Timed "Up & Go" Test and the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale. Assessments are taken 3-times over a 3-week period. A follow-up assessment will be completed after three months. A secondary aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of such a device on the quality of life of people with Parkinson's disease using a qualitative methodology.

Conclusion

The Apple iPod-Shuffleâ„¢ and similar devices provide a cost effective and an innovative platform for integration of individual auditory cueing devices into clinical, social and home environments and are shown to have immediate effect on gait, with improvements in walking speed, stride length and freezing. It is evident that individual auditory cueing devices are of benefit to people with Parkinson's disease and the aim of this randomised controlled trial is to maximise the benefits by allowing the individual to use devices in both a clinical and social setting, with minimal disruption to their daily routine.

Trial registration

The protocol for this study is registered with the US NIH Clinical Trials Registry (NCT00727467).