News ArchivesRead News
Parkinson's treated with Victorian era device
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Science a Go Go - A 19th century "vibration chair" has been found by Rush University researchers to significantly improve some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The chair was designed by French anatomist Jean-Martin Charcot (pictured), who is often referred to as the father of modern day neurology. At the time, Charcot reported improvements in his patients, but he died before more complete evaluations could be completed. The Rush researchers set out to replicate his work to see if his claims hold true against modern scientific testing.
Charcot originally noted that his patients reported that during long carriage rides or train journeys, the uncomfortable or painful symptoms of Parkinson's disease seemed to disappear, and the relief lasted quite some time after the journey. Acting on these anecdotes, he developed a chair that mimicked the continuous jerking of a carriage or train.
For the modern day assessment, lead researcher Christopher G. Goetz randomly assigned 23 patients to either a vibrating chair or the same chair without vibration. During the treatment sessions, both groups of study participants listened to a relaxation CD of nature sounds. The study participants underwent daily treatment for a month. "We attempted to mimic Charcot's protocol with modern equipment in order to confirm or refute an historical observation," explained Goetz.
Reporting his findings in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, Goetz noted that the patients in the vibration group showed significant improvement in motor function after daily 30-minute treatments. However, motor function scores for the no vibration group also improved significantly.
"Our results confirm Charcot's observation of improvement in Parkinson's disease with chronic vibration treatment, but we did not find the effect specific to vibration," said Goetz. "Instead, our data suggest that auditory sensory stimulation with relaxation in a lounge chair or simply the participation in a research protocol has equivalent benefit as vibration on motor function."
Despite the indication that the effect is due to placebo or other nonspecific factors, Goetz says the findings are still of value. "Our results will allow clinicians to guide patients to at least one apparatus that is safe and associated with objective changes in parkinsonian impairment scores," he concluded.
Recent NewsNov 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
Oct 18 - Fighting Parkinson's disease through dance
Oct 17 - Scientists Identify Structure of PINK1, Key Parkinson’s-protective Protein
Oct 17 - Diabetes drug cuts Parkinson's risk by 28 percent, study finds
Oct 10 - Advances in Brain Pacemaker Reduces Tremors, Helps Parkinson's Sufferers Live a More Normal Life
Oct 10 - Medical History Could Help Predict Parkinson's Disease Risk Long Before Diagnosis
Oct 3 - Changes in Olfactory Bulb Explain Loss of Smell in Early Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Study Finds
Oct 3 - Sleep Disturbances May Worsen Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease, Study Suggests