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Portable stimulator being tested on Parkinson’s patients

Credit: Image courtesy of University of Gothenburg

A weak electric ‘noise’ can improve balance and motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease, researchers have demonstrated. In cooperation with NASA, a research team at the Sahlgrenska Academ, University of Gothenburg has now developed a portable prototype that will be used in long-term studies of Parkinson’s patients in their home environment.

The patients were studied in both medicated and unmedicated states. On one day, the patients received an active noise stimulation and on another day inactive treatment, blinded to which day the current was active. The experiments show that the active noise stimulation improved both the patients’ balance and the combined symptoms.

“The effect on balance was particularly apparent when the patients were in the unmedicated state, which is very positive,” says Associate Professor Filip Bergquist at the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the study

In a follow-up study over a longer time, the researchers will now have the Parkinson’s patients wear a stimulator that is smaller than a wallet and can be carried in the pocket.

Journal Reference:

  1. Ghazaleh Samoudi, Maria Jivegård, Ajitkumar P. Mulavara, Filip Bergquist. Effects of Stochastic Vestibular Galvanic Stimulation and LDOPA on Balance and Motor Symptoms in Patients With Parkinson’s Disease. Brain Stimulation, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2014.11.019
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