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Background. The optimal prescription of cueing for the treatment of freezing of gait (FoG) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is currently a difficult problem for clinicians due to the heterogeneity of cueing modalities, devices, and the limited comparative trial evidence. There has been a rise in the development of motion-sensitive, wearable cueing devices for the treatment of FoG in PD. These devices generally produce cues after signature gait or electroencephalographic antecedents of FoG episodes are detected (phasic cues). It is not known whether these devices offer benefit over simple (tonic) cueing devices. Methods. We assembled 20 participants with PD and FoG and familiarized them with a belt-worn, laser-light cueing device (Agilitas™). The device was designed with 2 cueing modalities—gait-dependent or “phasic” cueing and gait-independent or “tonic” cueing. Participants used the device sequentially in the off, phasic, or tonic modes, across 2 tasks—a 2-minute walk and an obstacle course. Results. A significant improvement in mean distance walked during the 2-minute walk test was observed for the tonic mode (127.3 m) compared with the off (111.4 m) and phasic (116.1 m) conditions. In contrast, there was a nonsignificant trend toward improvement in FoG frequency, duration, and course time when the device was switched from off to tonic and to phasic modes for the obstacle course. Conclusions. Parkinson’s disease patients with FoG demonstrated an improvement in distance walked during the two-minute walk test when a cueing device was switched from off to phasic and to tonic modes of operation. However, this benefit was lost when patients negotiated an obstacle course.


School of Behavioural and Health Sciences

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.