PARKINSON’S disease is a degenerative neurological condition. Healthcare professionals have long used electrical stimulation to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but there can be serious side effects with prolonged use.
A recent study suggests that electrical stimulation delivered in short bursts to targeted locations may improve the longevity and effectiveness of the treatment.
The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that more than 10 million people worldwide are currently living with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that worsens progressively. It is characterized by tremor, slowness of movement, and muscle stiffness.
The new study, which appears in the journal Science, investigates a way to improve deep brain stimulation in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease develops due to the progressive degeneration of neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigraTrusted Source. The death of these neurons results in a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
The main treatment option for Parkinson’s disease is the drug levodopa. This medication is a dopamine replacement. However, it loses its effectiveness over time, and some people can develop motor complications as a result of using it.
Once drugs for Parkinson’s disease stop being effective, doctors may use high frequency deep brain stimulation to help reduce the symptoms.
Doctors now use electrical deep brain stimulation to treat a growing list of conditions, including dystonia, tremors and epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In 1989, scientists successfully applied this technology for the first time to reduce the tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. Since its initial clinical use, experts have further developed and refined the stimulation technique.
Some Parkinson’s disease symptoms respond well to this type of treatment. However, there are several downsides to electrical stimulation, including worsened depression, psychosis, and impulse-control disorders.