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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013;2013:949-52. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6609659.

In-home measurement of the effect of strategically weighted vests on ambulation.


Strategically weighted vests are currently being used to treat patients with Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, and ataxia. While studies have been conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of these vests, there has been very little research into the mechanisms that give rise to the vest's results. This study demonstrates the ability to capture gait parameters from depth images[1] in the home with sufficient sensitivity to support future investigation of the weighted vest intervention. The study also explores multiple metrics, using in-home gait sensing, to study a subject's ambulatory ability including gait mechanics, uncertainty in motion, and gait cadence. We then investigate the effects of these vests on a subject's ambulation by examining these metrics both before and after the vest is worn. While only four subjects were used, results are promising, showing a statistically significant and clinically significant change in many of these metrics as a result of the vest. The cases presented here concern two subjects, one with a "tight" gait caused by Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, and the second with an excessively "loose" gait due to Parkinson's disease. We show that in both subjects, using the vest immediately moved the metrics in a direction beneficial to the subject's clinical condition. This result concurs with clinical observations as measured using various clinical fall risk instruments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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