Skip to content
Study and practice with the human brain in x-ray laboratory
Study and practice with the human brain in x-ray laboratory

Press release -

Northumbria’s vision for improving treatments for Parkinson’s disease

Northumbria University is leading research on the effects of technological visual training as a potential rehabilitation tool for people affected by Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Sam Stuart, a senior researcher in the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Northumbria, is working with American company, Senaptec, an industry leader in the design and production of sensory performance assessment.

Using Senaptec’s technology, Dr Stuart is working in collaboration with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, carrying out clinical trials on 40 people suffering with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The Senaptec technology consists of a sensory performance assessment station, eyewear and a mobile tablet application that have pre-set modes that can be customised. The eyewear has been manufactured to look like a pair of glasses, these ‘smart’ glasses are designed to help elite athletes process vision faster and more efficiently. This provides a unique edge for athletes to perform at a higher level more consistently and with better decision making. 

The eyewear lenses flicker on and off, making it harder to process information, which helps the brain focus on visual tasks. The resulting heightened vision capability can improve people’s eye-hand coordination, movement, balance, and reaction time. 

Dr Stuart is combining the brain training techniques of the Sensory Station and tablet application with the eyewear to help improve mobility and balance in people with Parkinson’s.

“This study aims to explore whether vision and balance can be improved with visual training for people with Parkinson’s,” said Dr Stuart. “Research has shown that people with Parkinson’s rely more heavily on their vision for day-to-day activities. Visual and cognitive problems combined with balance issues increase the risk of falls among people with Parkinson’s. This risk can of course lead to decreased physical activity and a reduced quality of life.

“Working with Senaptec and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, our aim is to find out what effect visual training has on participants’ visual abilities and whether this has any impact on their balance and walking.”

Parkinson’s is the largest growing neurological disorder in the world, with one in 37 people at risk of developing the disease in their lifetime.

This project compliments the growing body of research at Northumbria University on rehabilitation for people with Parkinson’s disease. Dr Stuart is also working on an international research project funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation (USA) looking at walking interventions for people with Parkinson’s disease in collaboration with Northumbria Healthcare NHS and Oregon Health and Science University.

Subjects

Tags


Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Find out more about us at www.northumbria.ac.uk --- Please contact our Media and Communications team at media.communications@northumbria.ac.uk with any media enquiries or interview requests --- 

Press contacts

Rik Kendall

Rik Kendall

Press contact PR and Media Manager Business and Law 07923 382339
Andrea Slowey

Andrea Slowey

Press contact PR and Media Manager Engineering and Environment / Health and Life Sciences 07708 509436
James Fox

James Fox

Press contact Student Communications Manager
Rachael Barwick

Rachael Barwick

Press contact PR and Media Coordinator Health and Life Sciences / Sport 07377422415
Ruth Lognonne

Ruth Lognonne

Press contact PR and Media Coordinator Health and Life Sciences / Sport 07971274253
Emily Morris

Emily Morris

Press contact Corporate Communications Coordinator
Gemma Brown

Gemma Brown

Press contact PR and Media Coordinator Arts Design and Social Sciences / Engineering and Environment

Related media

Related content

#TakeOnTomorrow

Northumbria is a research-intensive modern university with a global reputation for academic excellence.

Northumbria University, Newcastle