Potential spinal treatment for Parkinson’s

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Spinal cord stimulation may help protect against neuron damage and the loss of movement caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers at Duke University tested the procedure on rats with low levels of dopamine in the brain, which mimics the effect of Parkinson’s in humans. The procedure focuses on the dorsal column, a key neurological pathway in the spine. The rats underwent two, 30 minute sessions a week for six weeks. Researchers found the treatment stalled weight loss, improved motor function, and showed signs it protected against neuron loss or damage in the rats.

"Finding novel treatments that address both the symptoms and progressive nature of Parkinson's disease is a major priority," study senior author Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., was quoted as saying. "We need options that are safe, affordable, effective and can last a long time. Spinal cord stimulation has the potential to do this for people with Parkinson's disease."