New device helps Clovis veteran with Parkinson’s walk again

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) — The simple act of walking can be challenging for those living with Parkinson’s disease, which affects movement.

However, a Clovis veteran is now on the move with the help of a newly-invented device.

“It feels like your feet are stuck in cement,” explained Patrick Hallmark. “A lot of people who have Parkinson’s, you’d be going through a doorway or whatever, and your feet — you just cannot move your feet.”

The 63-year-old has a condition called “Freezing of Gait,” which can come with Parkinson’s.

It can lead to falls and hospitalizations.

For Hallmark, it also came with a loss of independence.

“If I didn’t have my wife or daughter with me, I would really have a hard time going to stores and everything,” he said.

That’s all changed with a device as small as his palm.

“This has done wonders,” Hallmark said, as he showed his NexStride device.

Through a Parkinson’s support group, Hallmark learned about NexStride and immediately bought the device.

Now he’s walking, despite his condition.

Sidney Collin, CEO of De Oro Devices, explained why walking can be difficult for people with Freezing of Gait.

“There’s a disconnect between the brain and the body, and it makes it so that when the brain is sending that signal to initiate movement, it doesn’t get to the motor neurons that are activating the muscles,” she said.

Collin, a biomedical engineer, created NexStride for a veteran while she was in college.

The device essentially uses the same visual and auditory signals or cues used in physical therapy.

“The visual cue that we use is a green laser line projected onto the floor in front of you. The auditory cue is a metronome,” she explained. “So you visualize yourself stepping over that green laser line, stepping to the beat of the metronome. Just by changing the intention behind the movement, by setting that goal, we’re changing the part of the brain that’s been activated, that allows someone to be able to restore mobility.”

Collin is happy to see NexStride restoring mobility for people like Hallmark.

“I am able to walk or take my dog ​​for walks,” Hallmark said. “I’m able to get out and go shopping, grocery shopping for my wife — just do different things like that.”

The device is $499 and it’s 100% covered for veterans through Veterans Affairs, as well as the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund organization.

Information about NexStride can be found here.

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