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† Parkinsonís disease research may lead to better brain-computer interfaces

Narrator:       This is Science Today. A device that delivers visual and auditory cues while patients with Parkinson's disease are walking is being tested by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. Cognitive scientist Virginia de Sa explains that previous studies have shown that people with Parkinson's disease are able to walk better on a tile or patterned floor. So, they've been testing a device that's worn like a visor and shows the patient a checkerboard pattern as they walk. While this happens, the scientists are recording the patient's brain waves using an EEG cap.

de Sa:            What we want to do is to understand what is changing in the brain that allows them to walk better when they're experiencing the visual cues or auditory cues.

Narrator:       Understanding this can lead to better brain-computer interfaces.

de Sa:            People are now developing dry electrode systems that could be worn in a baseball cap. So, it monitors their EEG. If it thinks that they're about to have freezing of gait, it could present a little visual cue or sounds in their ear that could help them continue to walk normally.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.