Visual cues added to a virtual environment paradigm do not improve motor arrests in Parkinson's disease

S. Janssen*, J.J.A. Heijs, M. Bittner, E. Droog, B.R. Bloem, R.J.A. van Wezel, T. Heida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective. Elucidating how cueing alleviates freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's disease (PD) would enable the development of more effective, personalized cueing strategies. Here, we aimed to validate a visual cueing virtual environment (VE) paradigm for future use in e.g. neuroimaging studies and behavioral studies on motor timing and scaling in PD patients with FOG. Approach. We included 20 PD patients with FOG and 16 age-matched healthy control subjects. Supine participants were confronted with a VE displaying either no cues, bars or staircases. They navigated forward using alternate suppression of foot pedals. Motor arrests (as proxy for FOG), and measures of motor timing and scaling were compared across the three VE conditions for both groups.Main results. VE cues (bars and staircases) did not reduce motor arrests in PD patients and healthy control subjects. The VE cues did reduce pedal amplitude in healthy control subjects, without effects on other motor parameters. Conclusion. We could not validate a visual cueing VE paradigm to study FOG. The VE cues possibly failed to convey the necessary spatial and temporal information to support motor timing and scaling. We discuss avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number046009
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Cues
  • Freezing of gait
  • Gait disorders
  • Parkinson disease
  • Virtual environment
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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