During my senior year, I collaborated with a team of two other Exercise Science students in my ‘Research Methods’ course. We started out knowing little to nothing about Parkinson’s Disease, but by the end of the course, we created an entire grant proposal and presented to our peers on why we believed our solution should be considered.
Check out our final presentation below:
We applied another method that had proven successful in other areas to our specific area of interest, and it started all started with this message from one of our teammates:
“Hey! So we were thinking of looking into Parkinson’s and some kind of weighted/compression sleeves. I have seen the effect of weighted blankets and thought that maybe we can somehow relate it to a compression sleeve to help fine motor skills. Also thinking about maybe splinting or casting to help with wrist stability for individuals with Parkinson’s to help with tremors. ” – Jennifer
Why did we even want to tackle this problem?
- Parkinson’s is the 2nd Most Common Chronic, Progressive Neurodegenerative Disorder
○ Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common chronic, progressive
neurodegenerative disorder affecting more than 5 million individuals worldwide
and the typical age of onset is between 50- 60 years old.
- Parkinsonian Tremor is one of the most disabling symptoms.
○ Negatively affects activities of daily living as well as the quality of life of the
- Treatment of the Disease
○ Although some symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease such as rigidity and
bradykinesia are commonly treated with dopamine medication, Parkinsonian
tremors have been found to not always respond to dopamine treatment.
○ Specifically, tremors are of interest in our research, as they interfere with
accomplishing many common tasks. Because current treatments are limited to
medication and invasive procedures, it is important to look to alternative options
to manage the incurable symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
After researching further and brainstorming some potential solutions, we decided that a weighted sleeve could just be the right option:
- Allows for Proprioceptive Feedback
○ A weighted compression sleeve could allow for proprioceptive feedback similar
to that attained by the robotic apparatus. Utilizing a weighted compression sleeve
could improve the ability of an individual with PD to perform activities of daily
living that may have been decreased or even lost.
○ Reduced tremor amplitude in the hand of an individual with PD allows for better
fine motor control to improve common ADL’s like cutting vegetables or
buttoning a shirt.
- Could Stimulate Basal Ganglia Outflow
○ Tremor, a symptom seen to be caused from poor basal ganglia outflow into areas
responsible for coordinated movements, could be suppressed through a weighted
compression sleeve through stimulating the basal ganglia in patients with PD (11).
- New application of Compression Garments
○ The study will apply the use of compression sleeves on individuals with PD rather
than the typical studies observing compression garments effects on athletes while
also providing data to support the physiological benefits when worn during
○ Data to support the use of compression garments for enhanced proprioception is in need of further study with the PD population.