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Electric Noise May Change How Parkinson’s Is Treated

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Leading providers of home care in Oklahoma have seen firsthand how problems with gait and balance can cause significant mobility challenges for people with Parkinson’s disease. However, a new technology may offer patients some welcome relief. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have developed a device designed to improve balance through the delivery of electric noise. Preliminary tests of the pocket-sized apparatus on 10 Parkinson’s patients showed that the electric stimulation not only had a positive impact on balance but on other physical symptoms of the disease as well.

How the Stimulation Device Works

The compact gadget is a wearable device that is attached with adhesive patches behind a person’s ears. This area of the brain controls the body’s vestibular, or balance, system. The patches are connected to a hand-held electric noise generator that delivers a specific electrical current designed to stimulate the vestibular without creating a sense of imbalance. Patients who wear the device don’t actually hear the electric noise.

The Results

The new technology was tested by having medicated and non-medicated participants wear the device, and patients never knew when they were receiving active or inactive treatment. According to the researchers, most of the participants demonstrated better balance at the end of the study, and symptoms like slow gait, tremors, and stiffness also showed improvement.

The device isn’t effective with every Parkinson’s patient, however. Researchers believe it will be most beneficial in cases where traditional drugs aren’t enough to alleviate symptoms. They’re hopeful that electric noise stimulation may prove helpful in treating other types of movement disorders as well.

Further Study

Developers are planning a long-term study that will allow participants to use the device at home. While it will be several years before results are finalized and the device is made available to the general public, the hope is that the electric noise stimulator will enhance the lives of those living with Parkinson’s when traditional methods fail.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s can make completing everyday tasks more challenging for seniors. If your aging parent or relative could use additional help and support at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care for seniors in Oklahoma, helping seniors age safely in the comfort of home. To learn more, please give us a call at 405-285-4191 and speak with an experienced Care Manager today.