Narrator: This is Science Today. The biggest symptoms of Parkinson's disease are motor disorders, such as walking. Some patients suffer from a phenomenon called "freezing of gait," in which they want to walk, but feel they are stuck to the floor. Cognitive scientist Virginia de Sa of the University of California, San Diego, is studying this in Parkinson's patients, by using an EEG to record their brain activity while walking.
De Sa: We're looking to see how the brain activity changes in people with Parkinson's disease when they're walking with visual cues and after they're walking with visual cues. So, we're looking at voltage at the scalp and we're using that to see how different brain areas are communicating while they're walking with visual cues and how that's maintained after we remove the visual cues.
Narrator: It's been found that visual cues, such as walking on textured floors, can help patients with Parkinson's while walking.
De Sa: What we want to do is better understand how these cues are actually helping them so that either we can make better systems to help them or better understand at least the mechanism for how the visual cues are helping them.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.