An experimental implant that electrically stimulates the spinal cord significantly improved the mobility of a person with advanced Parkinsonís disease, says a report published yesterday (06 Nov. 2023) in the journal Nature Medicine.
According to Nature, the technology, developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), allows a person to walk smoothly and move around terrain without falling - something that was not possible before treatment. Parkinsonís disease causes uncontrolled movements and difficulty with coordination and gets worse over time.
The effect of the treatment have lasted for two years. "There are no treatments for the severe gait problems that occur in the later stages of Parkinsonís disease, so it is impressive to see him walking," says Jocelyne Bloch, a neurosurgeon at EPFL and lead author of the study.
But with only one person tested, itís unclear whether the method works for other people with illnesse. Susan Harkema, a neuroscientist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky who is studying stimulation therapy in people with spinal cord injuries, said the next step "will be to do a randomized, controlled trial."