News ArchivesRead News
Eye implants offer Parkinson’s hope
Thursday December 15, 2005
Wai Lang Chu
12/13/05(Archives of Neurology) - A new therapy for Parkinson’s disease involving brain implants has been developed by US scientists, who believe this new treatment is a viable alternative to drugs currently used to treat this chronic irreversible brain condition.
Levodopa is currently the most common drug treatment for the brain condition but the pills can leave people susceptible to involuntary movements such as twitches. It is normally prescribed a few years after diagnosis as the symptoms get worse.
In addition, disease progression and long-term oral treatment with levodopa may lead to the development of motor fluctuations and dyskinesias
This new approach involved taking levadopa producing eye cells taken from a dead donor and implanting the directly into the brains of six Parkinsons patients. The researchers reported no serious side effects.
Eye cells that form retinal pigment epithelial tissue produce levodopa and can be isolated from human eye tissue and implanted in the brain. Research on animals has shown that the cell implants can help treat the symptoms safely.
The retina cells were cultivated and implanted in the brains of six patients with advanced Parkinsons, said researcher Natividad Stover of the University of Alabama.
One year later, the patients scored 48 per cent higher on tests of movement and coordination, and the improvement was sustained after two years, Stover wrote in the report.
"The implants were well tolerated," the report said. "Improvement was also observed in activities of daily living (and) quality of life."
The study is additional proof that the technique could work on humans and paves the way for a larger, more thorough study.
Indeed, Stover added that a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was now in the pipeline to test the treatment further.
For most patients, the levodopa pills lose their effectiveness over five years or less, and larger and larger doses are needed to keep at bay the involuntary movements and shaking symptomatic of the disease.
Some scientists have viewed implanting foetal stem cells into the brains of Parkinsons patients as a promising avenue to restoring dopamine production. But preliminary human trials were disappointing, and animal experiments have yielded mixed results.
Other treatments showing promise include deep brain stimulation with implanted electrodes, drugs that promote brain cell growth, and gene therapy
Recent NewsJan 2 - January 2, 2018 News Update
Dec 26 - December 26, 2017 News Update
Dec 19 - December 19, 2017 News Update
Dec 8 - New technique scours the genome for genes that combat disease
Dec 8 - Restless sleep may be an early sign of Parkinson's, dementia
Dec 1 - Defects in cell's 'waste disposal system' linked to Parkinson's
Dec 1 - Dual virtual reality/treadmill exercises promote brain plasticity in Parkinson's patients
Nov 17 - 'Moving Day' participant is not letting young-onset Parkinson's disease stop him
Nov 17 - Focused ultrasound shows promise for treating Parkinson's tremor
Nov 17 - New research to target air pollution as a potential trigger for Parkinson’s
Nov 17 - This device will let you feel what it's like to suffer from Parkinson's
Nov 10 - How does Parkinson's disease influence depression?
Nov 10 - House votes to repeal ObamaCare's Medicare cost-cutting board
Nov 10 - Microsoft shows off watch that quiets Parkinson's tremors
Nov 3 - Utah group battling Parkinson's disease with boxing
Nov 3 - UVA-LED STUDY EXAMINES POTENTIAL OF SOUND WAVES TO MANAGE PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Oct 27 - Herbicide's link to Parkinson's disease
Oct 27 - NTU Singapore, KAIST scientists discover new mechanism that causes Parkinsonian symptoms
Oct 27 - 70,000 Washingtonians face higher insurance costs after Trump order, officials say
Oct 18 - Brain disconnections may contribute to Parkinson's hallucinations