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The wearable robot taking on Parkinson’s ‘freeze’ threat

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Researchers have developed a soft, wearable robot to help people with Parkinson’s walk without the threat of freezing.

When individuals with Parkinson’s disease freeze, they suddenly lose the ability to move their feet, often mid-stride, resulting in a series of staccato stutter steps that get shorter until the person stops altogether.

These episodes are one of the biggest contributors to falls among people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Today, freezing is treated with a range of pharmacological, surgical or behavioural therapies, none of which are particularly effective.

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Boston University Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences have used a soft, wearable robot to help a person living with Parkinson’s walk without freezing.

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