Parkinson’s in the news: April

Global update

Author: Simge Eva DoganPublished: 25 April 2019

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From virtual reality experiences to a groundbreaking spinal treatment that exceeded researchers “wildest dreams”, we look at some of the most significant Parkinson’s news stories from across the globe in April 2019

Breakthrough Parkinson’s treatment helps individuals walk again

Canadian researchers have developed a treatment that can restore movement in patients with chronic Parkinson’s by using electrical stimulation. The technique – which implants a device into patients’ spines – has so far had successful results, with patients being able to continue walking even when the device has been turned off. One researcher told BBC News that the results were “beyond his wildest dreams”.

Gail Jardine, who received the treatment, said: “I haven’t fallen since I started the treatment. It’s given me more confidence and I’m looking forward to taking more walks.”

Pilot programme will provide motion tracking wearables to UK Parkinson’s disease patients

Australian health technology company Global Kinetics Corporation has announced a pilot programme in which 150 people with Parkinson’s will receive a Parkinson’s KinetiGraph – a wearable device that monitors their condition.

Patients will wear the devices for a six-day period to track their movement and remind them to take their medication. A clinical care team will then review the data and adjust each individual’s therapy as needed.

Virtual reality reduced Parkinson’s symptoms for 10 people

A virtual reality (VR) experience created by researchers at the University of Utah, US, has reportedly improved dynamic movement in 10 people with Parkinson’s. The participants – who trained three times a week over a period of six weeks – completed a variety of physical activities while wearing a VR headset.

Dr K. Bo Foreman, who leads the research team, said: “The primary advantage is that they can encounter multiple obstacles and terrains while a safe environment is maintained.”

Startup releases AI app to detect Parkinson’s disease

Lookinglass, an Australian startup, has released an artificial intelligence app that can detect Parkinson’s in its early stages. The app analyses video recordings of users and compares their movements to symptoms of Parkinson’s, before generating an instant report.

Lookingglass CEO Kelly Carpenter said: “Our solution removes the manual effort for diagnosis and reduces error caused by ineffective communication technologies”.

Five Academic Centres Selected to Train Next Class of The Edmond J Safra Fellowship

The Edmond J Safra Foundation has partnered with the Michael J Fox Foundation to offer research fellowships – valued at US $180,000 each – to five academic centres around the world. Each neurologist awarded a fellowship will receive training on how to diagnose and manage Parkinson’s.

The programme has so far offered funding to 18 medical centres globally and plans to have 26 movement disorder specialists graduate by 2022.

Lily Safra, chairwoman of the Edmond J Safra Foundation, said: “Increasing the number of movement disorder specialists who can care for patients and lead research studies benefits not only individual patients and families, but also the entire Parkinson’s community”.

Read more:

Parkinson’s in the news: March

Parkinson’s in the news: February

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