Can Tau-guided auditory cues help control of movement in Parkinson's Disease patients ?
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Based on the theory that the movement disturbances seen in Parkinson’s disease are caused by the lack of an intrinsic tau-guide (Lee et al, 1999), and drawing from knowledge of the role of the basal ganglia and its pathophysiology in Parkinson’s disease, an experiment was designed to investigate the use of auditory cues in alleviating the symptoms of the disease. Four Parkinson’s disease patients carried out 3 simple writing tasks under an un-cued and an externally cued condition. The sound cue took the form of a ‘whoop’ designed to imitate the properties of the intrinsic tau-guide. Coordinates of their hand-movements while performing the tasks were recorded and then analysed to determine whether subjects were utilising the external cue to improve their movement control. The results showed that the sound condition did lead to more normal movement in Parkinson’s disease and lends support to the theory that they are missing an internal tau-guide, and to the evidence that the basal ganglia’s role is the internal cueing of well learned, sequential movements.