Brain Implant May Reduce Parkinson's Disease

According to a new study, special brain implants can help reduce the negative symptoms characteristic of Parkinson's disease. The method proposed by scientists is a variation of the existing treatment of patients with this disease, based on deep brain stimulation. The use of deep stimulation technology implies implantation into the brain of a device that transmits electrical impulses that can inhibit the activity of certain nerve cells in the brain. Thanks to the use of the method, significant progress has been made in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. However, in some cases, the use of deep brain stimulation is accompanied by undesirable side effects, including difficulty speaking and intermittent movements.

The authors of the new study believe that a new approach based on adaptive stimulation can become a solution to the problem, which begins to act only when the excess of the number of beta-waves of the brain, characteristic of patients with Parkinson's disease, is established. This is a kind of targeted treatment, which is not applied on an ongoing basis, but when necessary.

The study, conducted by scientists at Oxford University, involved 13 patients with Parkinson's disease, whose symptoms, among others, included slow movement. Adaptive stimulation-based treatment was applied to all study participants. As a result of treatment, the manifestations of slow motion decreased, while the number of side effects (in particular, speech difficulties) compared with their number with constant stimulation decreased. According to scientists, this can significantly improve the quality of life of patients with Parkinson's disease. However, the sample is not very large so far to draw serious conclusions at this stage about the usefulness of the study.

On the other hand, the authors of the study note that this treatment method is not suitable for everyone - in two participants in the trials, adaptive stimulation caused a re-occurrence of tremor.

“Patients with severe tremors may need a modified adaptive control strategy,” the scientists write in their report.

It is worth noting that in addition to deep brain stimulation, there are a number of other methods of treating Parkinson's disease based on the use of high technologies. For example, Dutch scientists invented special “laser shoes” that return people in the advanced stages of the disease the ability to move around safely.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common among older people after Alzheimer's. Currently, about 10 million people worldwide suffer from this neurological disease. Moreover, if among forty-year-old people the disease occurs in 41 people out of 100,000, then among people over 80 years old, out of 100,000 people, there are 1,900 cases.

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