A New Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease Shines Light for Patients

Canadian researchers have developed an innovative breakthrough, that is, a new experimental brain stimulation treatment for patients with Parkinson’s Disease. This new treatment is said to restore the hope that patients will be able to regain strength and movement in their body through the use of electrical stimulation to the spine.

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative chronic illness that affects the mobility skills in the human body by blocking or reducing the signals going to and from the brain. The parts of the brain that registers movement are no longer functioning properly and as a result patients would face problems in walking, thus, increasing their risk in falling and injuring themselves. Henceforth, this restricts them to being housebound and confined.

Currently, there has been no substantial medical treatment to combat the effects of this disease and many patients have been resorted to the aid of a wheelchair. However, by administering this new experimental treatment for a trial period, already within three months patients have detected improvement in their mobility.

Lead researcher, Professor Mandar Jog of the Western University and Associate Scientific Director of the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, Canada, describes this revolutionary treatment as “beyond his wildest dreams“. He further explains that the use of an electrical stimuli reawakens the lost connection or signal between the brain and the rest of the body where movement is lost.

The treatment is provided to patients in the form of a dorsal epidural implant that is placed on top of the dura membrane where electrical stimuli is applied to the spinal cord. Patients who have taken part in the experiment have displayed signs of functionality in areas of the brain where body movement is restored.

Other physicians have already praised the treatment after seeing such positive results. Dr. Beckie Port, research manager at Parkinson’s UK, said:

“The results seen in this small-scale pilot study are very promising and the therapy certainly warrants further investigation. Should future studies show the same level of promise, it has the potential to dramatically improve quality of life, giving people with Parkinson’s the freedom to enjoy everyday activities.”

Professor Jog concludes that this treatment is different from the regular rehabilitation treatment that exists today as it reduces the symptoms and side effects of related Parkinson’s drugs like dopamine. As every patient may not share such symptoms, the new electrical implant poses as safer alternative for those who do suffer from harsh side effects.

References:

  1. Parkinson’s results beyond researchers’ wildest dreams, April 2019, YouTube and BBC Health
  2. Parkinson’s Resource Organisation, April 2019, ICBI
  3. Hope for Parkinson’s disease sufferers: scientists restore movement to patients, April 2019, CEOMagazine Health Issue
  4. New treatment to aid Parkinson’s patients (interview), April 2019, RCI