Usability and impact of a new music therapy program on walking, muscular activation, and self-perception in individuals with Parkinson’s disease: The SOAR tool

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Auditory input has been shown to impact sequencing and timing of movement in people with Parkinson disease (PD). Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) uses a fixed beat to which people synchronize their movements. Individuals with PD have shown improvements in spatiotemporal parameters with RAS. Patterned Sensory Enhancement (PSE) is an enhanced auditory technique which incorporates a musical component to impact spatiotemporal parameters and force patterns. The Synchronized Optimization Auditory Rehabilitation (SOAR) tool is a new approach created to customize PSE to a person in real-time through a software system depending on the impairments presented and reaction to the auditory cue. The three purposes of this project were to evaluate the validity and interrater reliability of a the SOAR tool, the immediate impact of RAS and the SOAR tool on muscular activation of the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius during ambulation, and to answer the question, “Do participants report a higher level of satisfaction and motivation when using the SOAR tool as compared to RAS or no auditory cue during ambulation?” The participants with PD were tested by the music therapist on day one and the physical therapist on day two. The spatiotemporal parameters of gait were measured using the Zeno Walkway System and muscular activation was collected and analyzed using a wireless Delsys system. Each participant was interviewed on day two and the interviews were transcribed and coded to identify emerging themes. The findings showed a high correlation between the SOAR tool and RAS and high interrater reliability between the music therapist and physical therapist on the measured spatiotemporal parameters of gait. Despite there not being a significant change in activation of the muscles during ambulation, all participants reported a preference to the musical PSE strategy of the SOAR tool as compared to RAS. The resulted indicated that the SOAR tool is a valid and reliable method for administering PSE techniques during ambulation in individuals with PD. Music could also be the catalyst to improve motivation as well as motion.

Parkinson's disease, RAS, Gait, EMG, Perception