News items European grant for study of walking strategies in parkinson's disease

15 November 2022

Researchers from the Radboudumc, together with three partners from other countries, will receive over one million euros of EU funding for research into compensatory strategies for walking disorders in people with Parkinson's disease.

People with Parkinson's disease regularly have difficulty walking and use different strategies to move forward better. Recent research from the Radboudumc showed for the first time that there are multiple "routes" in the brain that control walking, and can take over when the main route is affected by Parkinson's. Jorik Nonnekes of the Radboudumc then set up an international consortium to study these 'pathways' further.

The control of walking will be mapped through various methods in the awarded research. Each center applies its own technique, and together this will lead to a complete picture. In Nijmegen, for example, brain activity during walking is measured with a brain video (EEG); partners from Belgium, Israel and Italy are using MRI images and transcranial magnetic stimulation, among other methods. 

These methods unravel the mechanism of action of compensatory strategies for gait disorders. It should also become clear why applying compensation strategies has spectacular effects for one patient but not for another. In addition, it will be examined whether the compensation strategies still work well when applied for six months, and how this affects the control from the brain.  

Rehabilitation specialist Jorik Nonnekes: 'With this research we hope to achieve improved rehabilitation treatment of gait disorders in Parkinson's, and we will learn more about compensation mechanisms in the brain.'

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Pauline Dekhuijzen

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