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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7274-7299; doi:10.3390/ijerph120707274

The Significance of Experiences of Nature for People with Parkinson’s Disease, with Special Focus on Freezing of Gait—The Necessity for a Biophilic Environment. A Multi-Method Single Subject Study

The Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 88, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 21 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
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Abstract

Freezing of Gait (FOG) is a common condition in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). FOG entails suddenly experiencing difficulties moving or feeling that one’s feet are as glued to the ground. It is triggered, e.g., when passing through doorways. Earlier studies suggest that being in natural environments affects FOG in a positive way. Five subjects were recruited to serve as five single subject cases. We used interviews, observations, questionnaires and collected gait pattern data with aid of an accelerometer. A special designed outdoor setting was used, where we investigated whether passing through hedge openings with or without built elements triggered FOG. We found that no one experienced a FOG reaction when they passed through hedge openings without built elements. However, FOG was triggered when a doorframe was inserted into a hedge opening, and/or when peripheral vision was blocked. We interpret the results such that the doorframe triggered a phobic reflex, causing a freezing reaction. Passing through hedge openings does not trigger FOG, which we interpret as a biophilic reaction. Our results, if repeated in future studies, may have significance to everyday lives of PD patients, who could get a simpler life by consciously prioritizing stays in natural surroundings. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural environments; biophilia; perception; instincts; supporting environments; phobic reactions; attention natural environments; biophilia; perception; instincts; supporting environments; phobic reactions; attention
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ottosson, J.; Lavesson, L.; Pinzke, S.; Grahn, P. The Significance of Experiences of Nature for People with Parkinson’s Disease, with Special Focus on Freezing of Gait—The Necessity for a Biophilic Environment. A Multi-Method Single Subject Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 7274-7299.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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