The Headband: A novel stimulator to prevent falls

Falls are the main cause of injury-related hospital visits among elderly Canadians. They pose an even greater burden for the 100,000 Canadians afflicted by Parkinson’s disease, as it impairs balance and profoundly alters the motor functions of those affected by this disease. The drug and surgical interventions currently on the market have not proven to be consistently effective in the long term.

Dr. Martin McKeown is developing a lightweight, wearable and affordable device to prevent falls. Worn like a headband, the device connects an electronic unit with the bones behind the ears to deliver customized electronic stimuli to the human balance system.

This approach is shown to normalize brain rhythms and network connectivity, hence improving balance and motor functions in patients. By altering waveforms and the intensity of stimulation,  the headband can also be customized for individual patients to promote sleep, reduce motion sickness and dramatically improve quality of life for patients struggling with debilitating conditions like Parkinson’s.

2019 Ricci Penn Prize Recipient 

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