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Parkinson’s disease patients benefitting from electrical stimuli

by Ion Gireada on 10 March 2015
Health, Medical technology     |      dopamine,  Levodopa,  parkinson's disease,  sense of balance,  TENS

Parkinson’s disease patients may have significant improvements in quality of life due to a device that uses electric noise to stimulate their sense of balance, new research promises.

Swedish scientists from the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy created a portable pocket-sized vestibular that promises to improve the lives of Parkinson’s sufferers.

Leader of the research, associate professor Filip Bergquist, said the device uses the same technology as TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) therapy, used to provide relief from pain in situations such as child birth.

“The difference is that we use a particular current profile which you can stimulate the balance organs with without creating a balance disturbance. So you do not get the impression that the world is moving or that you are moving, you actually do not feel anything”, Bergquist explained.

Causing Parkinson’s disease is a decline in the levels of the hormone dopamine, a neurotransmitter playing a vital role for different regions of the brain to communicate with one another. An impaired sense of balance, tremors, poor mobility, slowness and stiffness are some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Levodopa is a drug used to treat patients diagnosed with the disease. The drug works by boosting the production of dopamine in the brain, but as of Parkinson’s disease progresses, the effectiveness of oral levodopa reduces and the patient becomes likely to experience involuntary movements, or dyskinesia.

Researchers are making efforts to find a treatment for movement disorders through this device where Levodopa is not enough, especially in patients with Parkinson’s disease where walking and balance is a big problem. Electrical stimulation of the vestibular organs is not only restricted to Parkinson’s disease as it could provide help for other conditions with poor balance.

Parkinson’s disease patients benefitting from electrical stimuli

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