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General Information

Latest General Information

The Gait Project

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a nasty brain disorder.  Excess spinal fluid accumulates in the brain, causing thinking and reasoning problems, difficulty walking, and loss of bladder control. It’s a horrible condition which generally strikes the over 60s.

The Hydrocephalus Association estimates that nearly 700,000 adults have NPH, but it is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. In fact, less than 20 percent of people with the disease are properly diagnosed.

Enter the Gait Project.  Bramhall u3a U3A members were amongst those asked to volunteer for a research study at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), comparing the walking gait of healthy control subjects with patients suffering NPH. You may remember seeing something about this in a previous newsletter or on our website.

With some trepidation, I volunteered and, to my surprise, thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours I spent at MMU. After some questions about my health and so on, tiny sensors were fixed to my clothes – as you can see from the photo which Rick, the researcher, kindly took at the end of the session. The sensors are picked up by special cameras which send a ‘stick’ image to a computer screen. Then I was asked to do some short walks and some balancing exercises. It was great fun watching the red points on the screen as I moved. These are later processed and, along with similar images from others in the control group will be used to help in diagnosing NPH.

Volunteers are still needed and there’s an Amazon voucher as a thank you for volunteering. Find out more by visiting the Links page on our website and scrolling down to the “Research” section. Alternatively you can click  HERE.

Clare Forrest

Bramhall u3a Committee

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