In about a year, scientists will start testing out the use of dorsal column stimulation on Parkinson’s sufferers after research on rats showed a high level of success.
Dr Miguel Nicolelis is a neuroscientist working at Duke University Medical Centre, he is confident that if the technology works, it opens up a whole new way of treating the disease.
Currently stimulation deep in the brain is seen as the last resort for patients, although it is a very aggressive way of dealing with parkinson’s disease.
The new spinal cord stimulation when performed on rodents resulted in infected specimens being able to move and walk normally again. They needed 80 % less medicine once a device was implanted into its spinal cord. Scientist will now carry out tests on primates and then hopefully continue on to humans.
A spokesperson from the National Parkinson Foundation found the conclusions interesting, whilst insisting it was very early days. Adding that with the current difficulty in helping sufferers with gait disorders it was an intriguing development.
The secret to why this particular stimulation could lie in axons, these are the neutral wires that are connected to the relevant part of the brain, in regard to the improvement for symptoms of Parkinson’s.
This technique was discovered by Stanford researchers who named it optogenetics.
Less invasive treatments could result because these axons lie very close to the brain’s surface. Any alternative to the existing need for deep brain stimulation to conquer Parkinson’s is a very positive step.