A new experimental spinal implant has brought hope to the fight against Parkinson’s disease as one patient has shown remarkable progress in being able to walk again.
A spinal electrode implant installed with surgery has shown incredible promise in aiding people with mobility issues caused by Parkinson’s disease.
The device is a progression of earlier research that used spinal stimulation for people with injuries to the spinal cord.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s on the horizon, new therapies such as these offer immense hope for people with Parkinson’s.
This experimental implant brought joy to one man and hopes for many others as he said the device changed his life.
Breakthrough spinal implant restores Parkinson’s patient’s mobility – cause for celebration
A new experimental spinal electrode implant, which builds on earlier research relating to spinal cord injuries, has proven extremely promising for those suffering from Parkinson’s, as one patient said it changed his life.
This therapy is tailored to the individual. As a result, it helps activate regions of the spine once the brain issues a command.
Researchers recently released their findings on this experimental neuroprosthesis device. They said that they have excellent proof of concept in Marc Gauthier, a 63-year-old man who has suffered from Parkinson’s since he was 36 years old, who was implanted with the device.
Gauthier told The Reuters Institute that the device changed his life.
The findings – inspiring hope
The research was carried out with help from a $1 million grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation and a partnership with ONWARD Medical.
Experts say that the early results are promising and that researchers are hopeful that more data will bring more breakthroughs.
They stress that research and regulatory hurdles will need to be overcome for these implants to become widely available for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Jean-Philippe Langevin, a neurosurgeon with the Pacific Neuroscience Institute of California, says, “I think that these findings are really promising and open the door to a potential new strategy to treat Parkinson’s disease”.
Patients so far – hope to expand research in more patients
To date, this particular experimental therapy has been used on two patients, Marc Gauthier and one additional person.
“It changed my life because I’m now independent,” said Gauthier, a native of Bordeaux, France. “I can leave my home, run errands. I even go on foot.”
Dr Eduardo Moraud, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, said that the surgery is not particularly complicated or invasive.
He also said that he and his colleagues discussed the potential for the same mechanism being applied to multiple disorders, as those with spinal paralysis and those with Parkinson’s have the same problem when it comes to locomotion.
Parkinson’s disease comes with a very grim prognosis. Most people will experience worsening symptoms as time goes on and complications like depression or dementia.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s on the horizon, new therapies such as this offer hope for people living with the disease.
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