New genetic stimulation treatment could help Parkinson’s patients regain mobility

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Author: AdminPublished: 28 September 2015

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Researchers from Imperial College London and Newcastle University have used a specially-designed, harmless virus to treat brain cells affected by Parkinson’s disease.

This new approach is documented in a study published in the journal ‘Molecular Neurodegeneration’, and examines a less invasive, more precise method of stimulating cells (known as cholinergic neurons) involved in the gait problems and postural instability experienced by advanced Parkinson’s disease patients.

The non-invasive treatment was given to rats which were treated to recreate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They were then given a drug designed to activate the ‘switch’ and stimulate the target neurons.

Dr Ilsa Pienaar, a junior research fellow on the project, said: “Parkinson’s disease patients experience a complex set of symptoms and we hope to use the same method to understand how different brains contribute to the disease.

“If we can transfer this technique to people, we can help patients regain mobility.”

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