In the past, patients whose Parkinson’s disease symptoms had become crippling had to rely on brain surgery in order to get relief. The necessary surgery utilizes electrical lead implants and a pacemaker-like device that is installed in the brain to send electrical impulses to the motor regions of the brain. This type of electrical stimulation has been shown to improve many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s for patients. However, surgery comes with many risks, among them infection. Now, researchers from Johns Hopkins University have developed a device to control many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s without surgery.
The device, called the STIM band, uses a technique known as non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation to transmit low-level electrical currents directly to the motor cortex of the brain without the need for surgery. Because Parkinson’s often affects one side of the brain more than the other, the device can be programmed to send targeted electrical currents to just one side. The device would ideally be worn by patients for 20 minutes each day in the comfort of their own home. The STIM band still requires placebo studies to determine the true effectiveness of the device as well as any side effects which might occur. However, the developers believe that in the future, the device could be used in conjunction with Parkinson’s medication to control many of the symptoms.
(Source: Popular Science)