Thursday, March 19, 2009
Researchers are looking into a treatment for Parkinson's disease that involves using electric currents to help patients move better.
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center say they attached wires to the spinal cords of mice and rats that had the slow, stiff motions of advanced Parkinson's disease. A Duke researcher says that when the electricity was turned on, the animals became 26 times more active and their movements visibly improved in seconds.
There's some evidence that certain types of brain activity play a role in Parkinson's movement problems. Interrupting those waves could let more normal brain-cell firing to resume.
Scientists want to try the technique on primates next.
The findings are reported in tomorrow's edition of the journal Science.